Wendell Haag receives U.S. Forest Service Rise to the Future Award

Wendell Haag studying growth rings in mussel shells. Photo by U.S. Forest Service.

Today, during the Rise to the Future Awards ceremony at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., Wendell Haag, fisheries research biologist with the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS), received the Jim Sedell Research Achievement Award.  Haag received this award for his comprehensive research on freshwater mussels.

“Freshwater mussels are among the most imperiled group of animals in North America.  Haag’s research has been critical in the formation of effective conservation strategies,” said  Katherine Smith, national program leader for Fish and Aquatic Ecology for the Forest Service. “His work has captivated new audiences by revealing fascinating details about the unique life history of freshwater mussels.” 

Haag has published more than 40 peer reviewed papers on freshwater mussel research as well as the comprehensive book North American Freshwater Mussels: Ecology, Natural History, and Conservation. He works in Oxford, Mississippi, at the SRS Center for Bottomland Hardwoods Research.

“Although we may be drawn initially to the beauty of their shells, the more we learn about mussels, the more surprises they reveal,” from the preface of Haag’s most recent book on mussels. “First one discovers the staggering diversity of mussels in North America, home to more than 300 species — the most diverse mussel fauna on Earth.”

The Jim Sedell Research Achievement Award honors science leadership, accomplishment, and intellectual curiosity contributing to freshwater ecology, fisheries and watershed management, and is the highest national recognition of aquatic accomplishment in research that the Forest Service bestows. Sedell was a pioneer in stream ecology. He leaves a lasting legacy of innovative ecological concepts, aquatic management strategies, and creative interactions between science, managers, and the public.

“Like Sedell, Haag’s work brings to light a diverse aquatic ecosystem found in our forest lands in the South,” Rob Doudrick, SRS station director said. “His research is instrumental in giving people the knowledge needed to help save these important and very often endangered species.”  

For more information, email Wendell Haag at whaag@fs.fed.us.

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