"If we recognized Joe with our Award of Excellence,
it would be the first time we have done so for a (primarily) private sector scientist."
—Pat Coulston, Awards Committee Chair
Cramer Fish Sciences Senior Scientist and Restoration Ecologist Joe Merz, Ph.D.,
[pictured, left, with Awards Committee Chair Pat Coulston, right]
was given the Award of Excellence
by the California-Nevada Chapter of the American Fisheries Society
at their 48th annual conference held in
Sacramento, California March 27th-29th, 2014.
The Award of Excellence is the highest honor that the Chapter bestows, and is not even awarded most years.
The Chapter Award of Excellence recognizes a Chapter and Parent Society member for
exemplary depth and breadth of professional achievement in academia, government service, or private
practice; combined with significant publications and/or conservation activities, and participation
in Chapter activities. They must have achieved significant distinction on multiple fronts (professionally,
scientifically, environmentally, and as a supporting Chapter volunteer). Those given this award should
have achieved statewide recognition as a major authority or guiding force in California and/or Nevada
fisheries management and science.
Cal-Neva AFS Awards Committee Chairman Pat Coulston said, "Joe is an accomplished fishery restoration ecologist
working for Cramer Fish Sciences, and an adjunct professor at U.C. Santa Cruz. When Joe's name was brought to
me I first assumed that our Distinguished Professional Achievement Award would be the appropriate award to
consider him for. I hold Joe in high regard as an active, industrious, engaging, and creative member of our
profession. As I explored Joe's nomination further I came to the notion that his voluminous contributions
to the science of stream restoration ecology might warrant recognition with our most prestigious Chapter
award, the Award of Excellence."
Pat explained the difference between the Distinguished Professional Achievement Award and the
Award of Exellence: "The Professional Achievement award recognizes chapter members for professional
excellence in research, management, education, publication, or outstanding
contributions to the profession or fisheries conservation."
"The Award of Excellence recognizes a Chapter and Parent Society member for exemplary depth and breadth of
professional achievement, combined with significant publication and/or conservation activities, and participation
in Chapter activities. Nominees for this award should have achieved statewide recognition as a major authority or
guiding force in California and/or Nevada fisheries management and science."
At the annual conference of the Cal-Neva Chapter of the AFS, held in Sacramento in April, 2014, Pat Coulston
explained why Joe Merz was selected as the recipient of the Award of Excellence, "It is easy to 'check
off most of the boxes' when it comes to evaluating Joe's career against either of these sets of criteria. He has
an extraordinary publication record, which also provides evidence of him being a prolific and effective collaborator.
Clearly, he is a leader (i.e. "authority") in the science of designing, implementing, and evaluating anadromous
stream habitat restoration. His work as a UC professor, and as a trainer in habitat restoration qualifies him as
an effective educator. In the context of this nomination, and previously, I have often heard Joe spoken of with
respect. He is serious about his work, but is also enjoyable to work with. He has been a perennial member of
the Chapter and Society and regularly attends and presents at our conferences. Joe has told me that he sees the
Chapter as his primary conduit to the profession.
"I should note that if we recognized Joe with our Award of Excellence,
it would be the first time we have done so for a (primarily) private sector scientist. Perhaps the time has come."
You may contact Joe via email by