MHCC Student Lands a Big One – A Job at a New Tribal Fish Hatchery
June 14, 2011
When Lincoln Fedderson decided to come to Mt. Hood Community College (MHCC) to study fisheries technology, he knew it wouldn’t be easy — it had been a long time since the 47-year-old member of northeastern Washington’s Colville Confederated Tribes had graduated from college the first time, and getting his study skills back was almost as challenging as the nine Columbia River dams that sockeye and Chinook salmon must cross before they make it from the Colville reservation to the Pacific Ocean.
“I wanted to graduate with honors,” Fedderson says, “But it took me three tries just to pass the grammar portion of the entrance exam!”
But pass it he did, and in his first MHCC term he earned straight A grades. Fedderson went on to qualify for the Rho Theta honor society and will in fact graduate with honors. The new job at the tribe’s $43 million fish hatchery near the Chief Joseph Dam was ample motivation.
“I’ve worked with the tribal fish and wildlife department since 1993,” he says, “and this hatchery is a great new opportunity, both for the tribe and myself.”
Fedderson is the first of several tribal members who will graduate from MHCC and go on to work as fish culturists at the hatchery, construction of which will be completed in mid-2012. The facility hopes to raise as many as 2 million summer Chinook and 900,000 spring Chinook for release into local tributaries as yearling juvenile fish, which are better able to survive the dams and predators they face on their way to the sea.
Todd Hanna, fisheries instructor, says Fedderson is well prepared to move into his professional role at the new Chief Joseph Hatchery. “He took his studies very seriously while at MHCC and his future is very bright.”
“I’ve had a great experience at MHCC,” Fedderson says, “and I’m looking forward to helping to bolster the salmon and steelhead runs. They need all the help we can offer — 50 percent of the young fish can be lost due to the many dams, then there is human harvesting and natural predators on their way back. Only a small percentage of the fish make it back to spawn. I am excited about using my education and training to try to improve those survival rates.”
The MHCC fisheries technology program has been in operation since the early 1970s and is the only one of its kind in Oregon. The program is well known throughout the Pacific Northwest, Alaska and beyond. Graduates are actively sought after for a variety of fisheries-related positions by state, federal and tribal agencies as well as private fisheries companies. For information, please contact Todd Hanna, instructor, at 503-491-7163, or firstname.lastname@example.org