Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences

Hydroelectric projects, human water extractions, fisheries, timber harvesting, invasive species, urban expansion, aquatic pollution, and climate change — these are some of the multiple stresses affecting the planet’s aquatic ecosystems.

ESSA has an internationally-recognized reputation for developing creative solutions in these problem areas — solutions with a lasting benefit. Our team’s goal is to be the best in the world at developing strategies and tools that minimize humanity’s water footprint on natural aquatic systems. Our approach considers both the ecological and human dimensions of aquatic resource management problems, whether we are tackling broad-scale policy issues, developing scientifically defensible monitoring plans, or building ecological models and software systems.

We work with our clients to test and refine methods to build cooperation among aquatic ecosystem scientists, resource managers and stakeholders. ESSA makes this process work through inspired leadership of project teams, skilled technical facilitation of workshops, high caliber scientific knowledge and objective problem analysis using advanced techniques. A close network of associates provides specialized expertise in hydrodynamic and physical modelling, statistics and advanced approaches to large-scale monitoring and evaluation.

Our services include:

  • trade-off evaluations for reservoir operations and water budget scenarios;
  • statistically robust designs for fish population and fish habitat monitoring;
  • simulation models and quantitative analyses for impact assessments;
  • analysis of climate change impact and adaptation potential; design of large-scale watershed restoration programs;
  • fish population life-cycle modelling and decision analysis;
  • strategic planning and policy evaluation for fisheries;
  • development of advanced water/fish decision-support computer tools;
  • integrated ecosystem management planning (watersheds, coastal zones);
  • high-stakes technical facilitation with multiple stakeholder groups;
  • and continued learning through Adaptive Management design, education and training.

Selected Projects


Nelitz, M.A., E.A. MacIsaac and R.M. Peterman. 2007. A science-based approach for identifying temperature-sensitive streams for rainbow trout. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 27: 405 – 424.
[PDF - 315 kb]

Alexander, C.A.D., C.N. Peters, D.R. Marmorek and P. Higgins. 2006. A decision analysis of flow management experiments for Columbia River mountain whitefish (Prosopium williamsoni) management. Can. J. Fish Aquat. Sci. 63: 1142–1156.
[PDF - 658 kb]

Marmorek, D.R. 2003. Strengths and weaknesses of the Endangered Species Act: Some insights from the Columbia Basin. In: The World Summit on Salmon, June 10-13, 2003, Proceedings. Continuing Studies in Science, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC. pp. 299-309.
[PDF - 683 kb]

Deriso, R.B., D.R. Marmorek, and I.J. Parnell. 2001. Retrospective Patterns of Differential Mortality and Common Year Effects Experienced by Spring Chinook of the Columbia River. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 58(12): 2419-2430
[PDF- 774 kb]

Marmorek, D.R. and C.N. Peters. 2001. Finding a PATH towards scientific collaboration: insights from the Columbia River Basin. Conservation Ecology 5(2): 8.
[HTM - off site]

See more publications, presentations and reports…