DIFW Honors Fisheries Biologists

DIFW recently handed out awards to its staff. Here is their press release.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Wes Ashe, a fisheries biologist stationed in the Belgrade Lakes region of the state, was honored as the Fisheries section employee of the year; and Derik Lee, a fish culturist who works at the Grand Lake Stream hatchery was honored as the hatcheries section employee of the year. The pair were recognized at the Department of Inland fisheries and Wildlife’s Fisheries and Hatcheries annual division meeting last week.

“Both Wes and Derik are extremely deserving of the award, not only for the accomplishments over the past year, but for consistently working above and beyond what is expected,” said Francis Brautigam, Director of Fisheries and Hatcheries at MDIFW.

Wes was lauded for his work managing the department’s brown trout strain evaluation project where he compiled the data from regions across the state, then analyzed performance of each strain which allowed the department to better make a decision on which strain to choose. Wes is also an excellent public speaker and praised for being a great ambassador who regularly presents fisheries projects to school groups, professional organizations and other groups.

Derik was praised for his work and dedication with the aerial stocking program throughout the state this year, putting in long hours which necessitated multiple overnight trips, and adapting to a constantly changing work schedule. Derik also was lauded for his work with the salmon spawning egg take at the hatchery, where he completed some of the tasks that generally take two or more staff, and was recognized for his willingness to consistently go above and beyond in assisting at the hatchery.

In addition to the two individual awards, two team awards were also given out.

In the hatcheries section, a cross section of the agency that worked on the Grand Lake Stream Hatchery water intake construction project was honored. This $4 million project upgraded the hatchery’s water intake supply and involved the support of multiple people throughout the agency including the Maine Warden Service Dive Team, Director of Engineering Rick Parker and his crew, environmental program manager Bob Stratton, Superintendent of Hatcheries Todd Langevin and the Grand Lake Stream hatchery crew of Dave Marsanskis, Derik Lee, and Joshua Kuester.

The fisheries section honored the team that developed the Fishing Laws Online Angling Tool (Float), which was released last spring. FLOAT is a culmination of five years of effort spearheaded by fisheries biologist Jim Pellerin, and assisted by biologists Matt Lubejko and Nick Kalejs, fish culturist Ashley O’Neal, and designer Ray Corson. Pellerin worked with other regional staff to create a statewide regulations database that then could be combined with a GIS mapping program that would give users an intuitive, easy to use, map based regulation program that would increase understanding and compliance of MDIFW’s fishing laws.

Photo – Fisheries Team Award Winners from left to right, biologists Matt Lubejko, Nick Kalejs, Jim Pellerin, MDIFW Fisheries Director Francis Brautigam and MDIFW Commissioner Judy Camuso. (photo courtesy MDIFW)

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website, georgesmithmaine.com, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.