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Robert T Lackey

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Nationality  American, Canadian
Name  Robert Lackey

Robert T. Lackey
Alma mater  Colorado State University University of Maine Humboldt State University
Known for  natural resource science and management, interface of science and policy, use and misuse of science in the political process
Residence  Corvallis, Oregon, United States
Education  Humboldt State University, University of Maine, Colorado State University
Fields  Fisheries science, Ecology, Natural resource

Doctoral advisor  W. Harry Everhart

Columbia Basin (Washington) in 2100 - Lecture by Dr. Robert T. Lackey

Robert T. Lackey (born 1944) is a Canadian born fisheries scientist and political scientist living in the United States. He is best known for his work involving the interplay between science and policy, natural resource management, and assessments of the future of salmon runs. Lackey is a professor of fisheries and wildlife and adjunct professor of political science at Oregon State University. From 1981-2008, he held senior leadership posts at the United States Environmental Protection Agency research laboratory in Corvallis, Oregon.



Robert Thomas Lackey received a B.S. (fisheries) from Humboldt State University (California) in 1967. He then entered the Zoology graduate program at the University of Maine to study “Seasonal abundance and availability of forage fishes and their utilization by landlocked Atlantic salmon and brook trout in Echo Lake, Mount Desert Island, Maine“ under the advisement of Professor W. Harry Everhart. After obtaining an M.S. (Zoology) in 1968, Lackey enrolled in the graduate program at Colorado State University to pursue a doctorate. His research on the “Effects of artificial destratification on a lake ecosystem“ was also supervised by Professor Everhart who had recently left the University of Maine to become head of the fisheries program at Colorado State University. In 1971, Lackey was awarded a PhD (Fisheries and Wildlife) and was hired immediately by Virginia Tech (Blacksburg, Virginia) as an assistant professor of fisheries. In 1973, he was promoted to Associate Professor at Virginia Tech. In 1976-77, he spent a sabbatical year in Washington, D.C., working with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service Environment Program as the national program coordinator. In 1977, he returned to Virginia Tech and resumed teaching and research. He left Virginia Tech in 1979 to assume leadership of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Water Resources Analysis Group located in Leetown, West Virginia. In 1981, he accepted a job as senior biologist with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency research laboratory in Corvallis, Oregon. In 1982, he became Courtesy Professor in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Oregon State University, a position that he continues to hold. Lackey’s career with the EPA laboratory in Corvallis included a variety of senior leadership posts, including Deputy Director, a position he held from 1989 to 2000. In 1999, Lackey was awarded a senior Fulbright Fellowship and spend his tenure at the University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George. Lackey retired from the Environmental Protection Agency in 2008 to work at Oregon State University.


Lackey career evolved from his early focus on solving practical fisheries problems (improving fish yields using various novel habitat enhancement techniques) to his more recent efforts to better define the appropriate role of scientific information and scientists in natural resource policy. Lackey’s leadership in developing policy options to restore wild salmon to the west coast of the United States is well known and controversial. It has been criticized for being overly pessimistic, but is regarded by others as a blunt assessor of reality. In 2005, he completed a 4-year collaborative effort, the Salmon 2100 Project. This project mobilized three dozen senior scientists and policy exports to develop practical policy options that, if implemented, would restore wild salmon runs in California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and southern British Columbia. The book of the same title was published in 2006. He lectures widely advocating the view that scientists should be vigilant about keeping their personal policy preferences out of their scientific activities. He is also a proponent of the view that the pervasive use of normative science is undermining the credibility of the scientific enterprise. His current work focuses on education, especially developing online graduate courses in ecological and natural resource policy.

Major Publications


Lackey, Robert T. 1974. Introductory Fisheries Science. Sea Grant, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia, 280 pp.

Lackey, Robert T., and Wayne A. Hubert. Editors. 1978. Analysis of Exploited Fish Populations. Sea Grant, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia, 97 pp.

Lackey, Robert T., and Larry A. Nielsen. Editors. 1980. Fisheries Management. John Wiley & Sons, New York, New York, 422 pp.

Mazaika, Rosemary, Robert T. Lackey, and Stephen L. Friant. Editors. 1995. Ecological Risk Assessment: Use, Abuse, and Alternatives. Amherst Scientific Publishers, Amherst, Massachusetts.

Lackey, Robert T., Denise H. Lach, and Sally L. Duncan. Editors. 2006. Salmon 2100: The Future of Wild Pacific Salmon. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, Maryland, 629 pp.

Journal Publications

Lackey, Robert T. 1998. Seven pillars of ecosystem management. Landscape and Urban Planning. 40(1-3): 21-30.

Lackey, Robert T. 2003. Pacific Northwest salmon: forecasting their status in 2100. Reviews in Fisheries Science. 11(1): 35-88.

Lackey, Robert T. 2006. Axioms of ecological policy. Fisheries. 31(6): 286-290.

Lackey, Robert T. 2007. Science, scientists, and policy advocacy. Conservation Biology. 21(1): 12-17.

Lackey, Robert T. 2009. Challenges to sustaining diadromous fishes through 2100: lessons learned from western North America. pp. 609–617. In: Haro, A., et al., editors. Challenges for Diadromous Fishes in a Dynamic Global Environment, American Fisheries Society.


Robert T. Lackey Wikipedia

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