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The Leetown Science Center (LSC)

The Leetown Science Center, the oldest Federal Fishery research facility was established in 1931. The Center applies expertise from a broad diversity of scientific disciplines to conduct integrated research programs addressing the high priority needs of natural resource managers and public policy makers. Areas of research include fisheries, wildlife, and ecology.

  • Impacts of dams and barriers, pollution, and human development on migrating fish
  • Methods for the detection, control and prevention of fish diseases
  • Determining the key environmental factors responsible for the distribution and abundance - or decline - of aquatic species
  • Genetic diversity and the maintenance of genetic diversity in wild populations.
  • Restoration ecology, including effective rearing methods, for trust, threatened, endangered and other priority species
  • Development of water recycling technologies to reduce energy requirements, water consumption and potential pollution from hatcheries and other aquaculture facilities
  • The effects of environmental factors on the physiology, pathology, biochemistry, behavior and ecology of aquatic organisms
  • Identification of fish populations by genetic structure
  • Development of suitable habitat criteria to address problems caused by environmental conditions, alterations in land-use, over-fishing, pollutants, exotic species and other disturbances of aquatic communities

Several ongoing projects of the LSC have specific application to the Appalachian LCC including:

  • Declining populations of anadromous fish in the eastern U.S. including Atlantic salmon, sturgeon, and shad
  • Declining populations and species diversity of freshwater mussel communities. Impacts and mitigation of structures which impede the natural movement of fish in eastern rivers
  • Disease impacts on wild fish populations and their overall health and associated effects of stress resulting from degraded habitats and contaminants
  • Impacts of landscape changes on species, communities, and ecosystem
  • Appalachian streams and rivers degraded as a result of acidic and metal laden waters discharged from coal mines
  • Sources, fates, and effects of contaminants such as mercury, in aquatic communities
  • Exotic species which imperil native plant and animal communities
  • Restoration of large mammals on federal lands

The LSC is divided into several research units. These are the Fish Health Branch, the Aquatic Ecology Branch, the Restoration Technologies Branch, the Southern Appalachian Field Branch, the Northern Appalachian Research Laboratory, and the Conte Anadromous Fish Laboratory.

The Leetown Science Center provides current information on their projects and staff on their website (

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