Bill Coleman, who pioneered many of the freshwater fish management and research techniques used today to maintain healthy fisheries, has received the 2013 Fisheries Biologist of the Year award from the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA).
“This award is a well-deserved tribute to the value, contribution and impact Bill’s career has had on Florida’s fish and wildlife resources,” said Nick Wiley, executive director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). “His passion, leadership and expertise will live through those he has mentored during his long career with this agency.”
Coleman, a nearly 40-year employee of the FWC, has accumulated a long list of accomplishments, including developing a technique to determine the age of largemouth bass, participating in some of the first drawdowns to achieve lake habitat restorations, overseeing the first freshwater genetics projects at the FWC and being the first to use electrofishing gear to estimate largemouth bass populations.
“Bill Coleman is an innovative and dedicated conservationist who has been involved in many different aspects of freshwater fisheries management and research, as well as aquatic habitat restoration,” said Steve Shea, the FWC’s Aquatic Habitat Conservation and Restoration Section leader. “Bill always put 100 percent of his efforts into any project that came his way.”
Coleman currently is responsible for managing projects to restore Florida lakes, rivers and streams and leads the Aquatic Habitat Restoration and Enhancement Subsection within the FWC’s Division of Habitat and Species Conservation. He is scheduled to retire at the end of October.
SEAFWA comprises fish and wildlife agencies from 15 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.