September 23, 2019
Jonathan Niles, director of Susquehanna University’s Freshwater Research Institute, was awarded Outstanding Coldwater Conservationist by the Pennsylvania Council of Trout Unlimited.
Niles was honored for his “extensive professional and ongoing dedication to monitor, restore and protect Pennsylvania’s cold-water resources,” his nomination reads.
Over his nine years at Susquehanna, Niles has worked with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s Unassessed Waters Initiative, which was launched in 2010 to document wild trout streams in danger of increasing human encroachment.
Under Niles’ leadership, Susquehanna has surveyed 849 of the total 7,000 assessed stream segments — more than any other PFBC partner except Trout Unlimited, a national organization with about 300,000 members.
The data Niles and his students collect directly influences whether the state Department of Environmental Protection places greater protections around a stream, thereby creating certain restrictions for proposed development.
Niles also established long-term data collection in 30 streams within the Loyalsock Creek Watershed to determine the impacts of flooding on brook trout and aquatic insect populations.
Niles was also recognized for his ongoing, collaborative work with the PFBC, DEP, local county conservation districts, the Chesapeake Conservancy, the Susquehanna River Heartland Coalition, and researchers from nearby colleges and universities.