Nick earned a Masters in Philosophy from the University of Washington in 1975 and received his PhD in Systems Ecology from the University of Montana in 2015. Nick’s Ph.D. research focused on estimating the historic abundance of adult salmon and steelhead populations in the late 19th and early 20th centuries using commercial catch data, and estimating the production of juvenile salmon that supported those historic populations using life history models and estimates of the amount of spawning and rearing habitats available to those populations. The results of Nick’s ongoing research in this area contributes to countering the “shifting baseline” syndrome that contributes to under-estimating the levels of abundance that many currently depressed salmon and steelhead populations are still capable of attaining.
From 1999 to 2005 he was an active participant in a joint U.S./Russian scientific research and conservation initiative focused on steelhead populations on the west coast of the Kamchatka Peninsula in eastern Russia. Much of Nick’s current work for WFC centers on the evaluation of ESA recovery plans and the evaluation of threats to salmon and steelhead posed by hatchery and harvest practices, and on the development of sustainable alternatives to current policies and practices that harm wild salmon and their ecosystems.