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Two Bitterroot men recently were honored for their work by the Montana chapter of the American Fisheries Society.

Chris Clancy was given a lifetime achievement award, and is retiring from a 40-year career with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks. Mike Jakober, a fish biologist for the Bitterroot National Forest, is the 2017 Outstanding Fishery Professional of the Year.

In a nomination letter for his Career Achievement Award, Clancy’s peers note that he “has left both a lasting impression on many professionals working today, as well as boats at the bottom of some of Montana’s iconic rivers.”

All joking aside, the letter notes how Clancy has promoted scientific research and sustainable management of fisheries resources, and advocated for continuing professional development for others in the business. He provided the impetus for getting state biologists to establish temperature criteria for drought closures — in other words, hoot owl restrictions to protect fish — and is known for his work with Yellowstone cutthroats, brown trout and bull trout.

“Chris is intellectually curious,” his peers write. If you spend any time in the field with him you will know he is captivated by the natural world and concerned about how we can do our jobs better with a lighter footprint, as well as trivial things. … His dedication to science and its application to management is a constant reminder of our role as professionals.”

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Jakober was nominated for the award for a variety of reasons, including his ability to pull together people from diverse groups in order to get an unrivaled amount of fish and conservation work done with few resources.

“He has partnered with FWP, Future Fishers, TU (Trout Unlimited) and other groups over the years to upgrade a number of the most critical AOPs (Annual Operating Plans) across the forest,” Cole Mayn, the Heritage staff officer for the Bitterroot Forest, wrote in a nominating letter. “Mike has also completed miles of road restoration and riparian area fencing that have minimized sediment sources and helped restore bull trout and westslope cutthroat habitat.”

Christine Dawe, director of the forest service’s Renewable Resource program, added that Jakober’s scientific documentation and surveys contribute to aquatic resource conservation and are “truly impressive.”

“Mike’s post-2000 Bitterroot fire monitoring in the managed landscape help set the stage for graduate projects looking at post fire and fish and habitat interactions, fish persistence, and dynamics,” Dawes wrote. “This work also included surveys in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, shedding light on pre and post conditions and dynamics in an unmanaged landscape.”

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