Mike Hudson is both a Regional Climate Change Coordinator and a Fish Biologist for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) and has served on the NW CASC’s Stakeholder Advisory Committee since 2018. In his role as Regional Climate Change Coordinator, Mike works across Fish & Wildlife Service programs to better integrate climate science into the agency’s work. As a Fish Biologist, Mike is part of the Integrated Conservation Science Program at the Columbia River Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office. He primarily works on bull trout recovery implementation and reintroduction in southwest Washington and Oregon; spring Chinook salmon and winter steelhead recovery through the Willamette Action Team for Ecosystem Restoration; and urban conservation. In both of his roles, Mike builds partnerships by working across multiple USFWS programs in the region and by working closely with Federal, Tribal, state, private and non-profit partners.
What led you to work in the field of climate adaptation?
I have been working in natural resource management for over 25 years now. After graduate school, I was working in southern Utah during drought conditions that began in the late 90s. It was at this time that I began to understand how our climate is changing and its potential to impact so many things, including the natural resources I work to protect and conserve. After moving to the Pacific Northwest and taking a job with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, I took an opportunity to serve on our Regional Climate Board in 2012. Since that time, I have been working with others within and outside our agency to better integrate climate science into all that we do and to meet the goals of climate adaptation, mitigation and engagement within our agency’s climate change strategic plan.
What does your day-to-day work look like?
In my position, I spend one-third of my time as Regional Climate Change Coordinator and two-thirds of my time as Fish Biologist, which provides a lot of diversity in the issues I work with and unique opportunities to crosswalk between both parts of my job. I spend a lot of time working with others within and outside my agency to better integrate climate science into our work and to protect and conserve several threatened, endangered and sensitive aquatic species. The various aspects of my job give me the opportunity to work locally, on specific projects such as bull trout reintroduction; regionally, with partners such as the States, Tribes and other Federal agency groups like the NW CASC; and nationally, with colleagues in USFWS throughout the continental United States, Alaska and the Pacific Islands, helping to continuously pave a road forward for climate adaptation work in our agency. The multiple geographic scopes of my position parallel the climate crisis, which must be thought about and tackled on so many levels across all of the sectors.
How does your organization support climate resilience in the Northwest?
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is doing a lot to support climate resilience in the Northwest. We have a cross-programmatic Regional Climate Workgroup composed of agency representatives from several western states, the Pacific Islands and three CASCs (NW, SW, and PI) that meets once a month to share information and promote collaboration. We are engaged in several efforts and forums throughout the region including the Cascades to Coast Landscape Collaborative and the Cascadia Partners Forum, both of which focus on landscape conservation in part through climate adaptation actions. We have developed tools and resources that incorporate climate science into habitat conservation plans and biological opinions. We have an internal Regional Climate Seminar Series that provides an opportunity across our region for continued education and promotes communication about our changing climate and how it relates to the work we do in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Broadly, we continue to try to find ways to work with and support our partners addressing the challenges our changing climate presents to those natural resources that we all care about and that we are charged with protecting and conserving for future generations.
What is your favorite thing about your work?
I started working in this field because of my love and passion for natural resources, particularly fish and wildlife, and for the sense of service the work provides me. I found that I am not alone in this thinking. My favorite thing about my work is that I get to work with like-minded people every day toward making a difference. “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” – Desmond Tutu