Those of us who work directly for the USGS Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units on a daily basis celebrate the privilege we feel in being part of one of the greatest conservation institutions in history. Our mission is our hallmark: meeting the actionable science needs of our cooperators, providing them technical guidance and assistance in interpreting and applying new advances in science, and developing the future workforce through graduate education and mentoring. Our success in accomplishing our mission is due principally to the caliber of the scientists and students they recruit, and the tremendous support from our cooperators.

The National Cooperators' Coalition

The National Cooperators’ Coalition is an alliance of non-federal cooperators and other supporters of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units (CRU) Program. 

It's members include state wildlife agencies, universities, and non-governmental organizations. The mission of the NCC is to build a stronger and more coordinated base of support to serve research, education, and technical assistance needs of the non-federal CRU program cooperators. 

The National Cooperators’ Coalition is active and is strategically working to build support for the CRU program. Sincere thanks to the American Fisheries Society, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, the Boone and Crockett Club, the National Association of University Fish and Wildlife Programs, the Wildlife Management Institute, and The Wildlife Society for their efforts and those of their affiliated members.

USGS Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units

The CRU program facilitates partnerships among researchers, managers, educators, and other stakeholders to provide practical  science-based information to state and federal agencies, private landowners, and the public, while providing research and educational experiences for graduate students – our future natural resource professionals.

CRU Year in Review

In the CRU Year in Review reports, you will find details on staffing, vacancies, research funding, and other pertinent information. You will also see snapshots of Unit projects with information on how results have been or are being applied by cooperators. That is the essence of what we do: science that matters.

2015 Year in Review

2017 Year in Review

A Model Partnership Program & 2016-2017 Research Abstracts

The CRU program is a unique model of cooperative partnership among the USGS, other U.S. Department of the Interior and Federal agencies, universities, State fish and wildlife agencies, and the Wildlife Management Institute. These partnerships are maintained as one of the USGS’s strongest links to Federal and State land and natural resource management agencies.


Washington Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
Each of the 40 CRUs in 38 states is a federal-state-university-private partnership that leverage more than three dollars for every dollar appropriated to the program by Congress. Annually, CRU scientists engage in over 1,000 research projects, publish 400-500 manucripts in peer-reviewed scientific literature, and help educate approximately 550 graduate students. 

Education & Training: By teaching formal courses, and mentoring graduate students and supervising their research, the CRUs play a key role in replacing the natural resource professionals who retire in the next 10 years. They will develop high-quality professionals who are: 
  • Well versed in science
  • Grounded in state and federal agency experience
  • Capable of working in complex interdisciplinary teams
  • Able to assist private landowners, members of the public, and resource managers
  • Culturally diverse

Science Themes: The CRUs provide useful information to partners and collaborators. The following major science themes contribute to the objectives of the USGS:

Advanced Technologies
Climate Science
Decision Science
Ecological Flows
Ecosystem Services
Endangered Species Conservation, Recovery, and Proactive Strategies
Human Dimensions
Invasive Species
Landscape Ecology
Species of Greatest Conservation Need
Species Population, Habitat, and Harvest Management
Wildlife Health and Disease

Looking Ahead....

Fully Fund and Staff the Units

Source: USFWS

CRU is now at a critical point due to a significant budget shortfall. 

  • Record vacancies of 36 CRU scientists (30%) due to reduced federal base funding
  • 97% of federal base funding supports salaries; uncontrollable costs rising
  • State and university cooperators are fulfilling their obligations for support
  • Support for the CRUs is strong
  • Additional states want to establish CRUs in IN, KY, MI, and NV

Create a Competitive, Research Matching Fund Program 

To begin meeting the high priority research and training needs of the Units, in Fiscal Year 2011, we are asking for the Interior Department budget request to establish a competitive, matching fund program within existing CRU legislative authority that would make available up to $20 million annually in new funds beyond base operational costs. These new funds would support future cooperative high priority efforts to facilitate research at large ecological and landscape scales and to enhance the linkages between the science and management so that natural resources agencies are able to meet the challenges of climate change, renewable energy development, and water resource conservation and use.

Build Capacity

Expand the program in terms of sheer numbers of Units as well as in the number of USGS scientists. It is clear that there is a lack of capacity and a strong interest in both areas. Several states that want their own Units either do must be serviced by outside Units or in some other manner. In addition, emerging issues and needs warrant the expansion of scientist in the system to allow for conducting additional research and producing additional graduates that are both sorely needed by the cooperators and others.

Steve Riley,
Oct 7, 2009, 12:46 PM
Steve Riley,
Oct 6, 2009, 1:49 PM
Steve Riley,
Oct 6, 2009, 1:39 PM