Written by Peter Pearsall/Photo courtesy of James Pearson

For the past six years James Pearson has been working to restore the lakes at Malheur Refuge, first as a graduate student, then as a Ph.D. candidate, and finally as the Fish Biologist for Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Pearson will be leaving the Refuge to step into a new role as Fish Biologist with the East Bay Municipal Utilities District in Lodi, California. 

“While I am excited to start the next part of my life, I am saddened because I will miss all my terrific coworkers, collaborators, and partners,” said Pearson. “Malheur Lake has been a significant part of my life over the last six years, and I will cherish all the fond memories that I have from our research together.”

Pearson helped to develop several habitat restoration models for Malheur, Harney and Mud Lakes, which together comprise one of the largest wetland systems in the Western U.S. One model looked at how non-native common carp impact ecosystem function in the lake. Another looked at how emergent and submergent vegetation help to reduce turbidity in the lakes and improve habitat for native species.

“My goal as the Fish Biologist at Malheur Refuge was to set up this lake restoration project for success in the future,” said Pearson. “And thanks to all of our partners and collaborators, I think that the Refuge has the building blocks in place to make meaningful progress in restoring these lakes.”

Pearson hails from California and said that this new position brings him “full-circle to what got me interested in fish biology in the first place: restoring habitat for Pacific salmon.”

All of us at Malheur Refuge thank Pearson for his enduring contributions to the lake restoration project. We will miss Pearson and wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors!