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Richard Tubb Oral History Interview, February 4, 2011

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AM: We're here with Dr. Richard Tubb, professor emeritus of fisheries and wildlife at Oregon State University. Today is Friday, February 4, 2011. We're in the Valley Library 6th Floor, 9am. I am Abby Metzger (gesturing to co-interviewers).

MR: Miriah Russo

KG: Kimi Grzyb

AM: To get started could you talk about your background, such as where you were born and a little bit about your childhood?

RT: I was born in Weatherford, Oklahoma in 1931--it's in the western part of the state, and my father was a high school principal. Later during the Depression, after he was working on his master's degree, we moved to Stillwater Oklahoma, 00:01:00and that's where Oklahoma State is located. And then we traveled around the state. My father was once the educational director with what was then the CCC camps. Civilian Conservation Corps was set up in Roosevelt's first term, and these were youngsters that came out of homes during the Depression. A lot of the families just couldn't support everybody and a lot of the youngsters hit the streets.

AM: Hmm.

RT: So they had an educational program from teaching to reading to writing to working on all kinds of welding, other kinds of carpentry, basic skills like that and then during the day time, they were on conservation projects. You will 00:02:00see in some cases, though, some of those are still left. If you go out to Hart Mountain (in Oregon), you see this old CCC camp there down below in the valley. If you go on the coast and look at one of the lookout points you will see CCC camp. That's what they did in the day time. At night they came back and were in study courses for the most part, first aid. It was run in a semi-military fashion, so that they stood retreat in the evening and inspection in the morning, where they took off to their jobs. So my father handled a lot of the evening stuff, and that was until 1941 when the war broke out, and at that time he went into the-he was a little old to go into the officer corps. So he went 00:03:00into the Red Cross, as a Red Cross field director, and then we traveled around some more (laughs). He wound up then as a person advising veterans coming back from the Gl Bill of Rights. So he was advisor at Oklahoma State and then he was advisor later at Oklahoma city. He ran the program throughout the state, and so that's my family background. I was moving around a little bit, over Oklahoma, but my grandparents were pioneers in the state, that was before statehood. In 1907 was statehood, so they came in and took up land in the western part which 00:04:00you may have read about the dust bowl, and that was part of the dust bowl. Fortunately they didn't have mortgages on their farm, so they were able to survive all right. So I grew up even though we traveled around.

My grandparents were there and that has a bearing because I spent usually my summers with them and so I was out on farms and taking care of animals. I was, running around the country, at that time on horseback (laughs). But since they all went off to the war, we had a place just outside Gutherie, about 40 miles 00:05:00North of Oklahoma city. Then, I was pretty much on my own. My older brother was in the service, my father was there, and so I got to wander 'round on my horse and in the streams and all around the wildlife and take care of some of the animals. We had a few animals and a 4H club. At that time there was small rural school And that's when I really started getting interested in streams. As a kid I'd go out in the streams and look at all the small animals in there that nobody knew anything about. Life progressed on and I eventually wound up in Oklahoma city through these schools. Some of them are rural schools, two room schools, 00:06:00and then I went to Oklahoma city. I went into a high school of 2000 (laughs) and graduated from there in 1949 and went back to Oklahoma state and...(thinking). I think my father tried to discourage me a little bit from going into the wildlife science.

AM: Why was that?

RT: They didn't know much about it. It really wasn't a scientific field until the 1930s. Germany had an approach, but it's not the same approach as we had here. There's was a very regimented thing where the land was controlled and the landowner managed the wildlife and the other parts of the area. The manager decided how many animals you can shoot, where you can shoot them, this type of 00:07:00thing. They were very controlled.

AM: That was wildlife management...

RT: That was Germany and France and Scotland, but here it was obviously not going in that direction. It was much more of a natural setting. Fisheries and Wildlife, the whole program wasn't formed until the 1930s. And one of the people who formed that is a person named Aldo Leopold, which you have probably read about. His relatives are here in town by the way.

AM: You're kidding?

MR: Hmm

KG: Ah

RT: You know the Starker Forest?

AM: Oh yeah.

RT: Have you heard of Starker Leopold?

AM: Oh my goodness!

RT: Starker Leopold is of that family.

AM: We are living among legends here!

RT: (Laughs) Yeah.

AM: Well, I'm kind of seeing a confluence of two things here. Your father was 00:08:00obviously very committed to education, and you're getting into streams. Did those two things influence you in wanting to become a scientists? Or was that aspiration far off?

RT: I did grow up looking at that as an option, biology, and I'd say in general just general science. And that area and geology was what interested me, and so I started in wildlife biology and enrolled in that to start with and I got, well, I got...the best way to put it is that I got more interested in the geology courses. So I switched over. But by the second year I was in the Korean War. I was involved in the Korean War. I went and enlisted in the Navy, and I was told 00:09:00I was in the Navy that I would be in the air arm of the Navy (laughs) and so...

MR: What does that mean?

RT: It meant that after you get out of basic training, you go and specialize in different areas. And if you go in the air arm, you go to basic aircraft school. That was what they told me. I thought that I would be on an aircraft carrier, but that didn't happen (laughs). Since I had two years of college, I wound up in a rank that probably doesn't exist anymore, which was a training device person. So I was made a teacher essentially (laughs). AM: Like father like son.

RT: I taught the people who came out of basic air school. The officers who were 00:10:00going to be fliers in there, we had simulated navigation. In other words there was old radio navigation then, and we had a lot of stuff left over from WWII. You probably don't know about lake trainers, but lake trainers were something you set up on a block and spun around with back ends. And they were like an airplane-you flew them like an airplane, but you never left the ground (laughs). The little marker around the table would mark the route they took, and the signals would come out of the air and it was like flying in to an airport. We used to call it going into the beam. Which you have to go left and right or hit the beam and then come right on it to the airport. That was the old old system, 00:11:00and it was still in place and still used by most countries even, at that time, but it was dropping out by the time I left. We just about abandoned the old trainers; they were all electronic and cost a lot more. They were a lot more complicated but I taught all kinds of emergent procedures. We had mock ups of special planes at that time; we had had a plane called Panther Jet in the Navy, and this, you walk inside. It was like how the inside of the plane would be. It took a whole trailer...it was like a whole big house trailer. And you flew that just like you would like a plane

AM: Wow!

RT: And so I managed that the last a year and a half or so while I was in the 00:12:00service. Then...well I got out the Navy one month early to go (laugh) back to school.

AM: How long were you in the Navy total?

RT: Three years and 11 months, so almost 4 years

AM: And then you went back to Oklahoma State?

RT: Well the reason was, at Oklahoma state I had been there and I could go there very quickly and get approved to do that. Otherwise, I would have been in another six months, (laughs). So I decided that would be a good thing for me to do.

AM: And when you went back, it looks like you stayed at Oklahoma State University until you graduated.

RT: Oklahoma state accepted me back, and I went right back into geology. But I took a zoology minor, and the thing that I had planned to do at that time was to 00:13:00work with small organisms that, when they're drilling for oil, they come through the different strata. The way they know is because they get fossils from that area, mainly marine fossils, and so you know where you are in that. And you'd take a full course in paleontology and geology to do that if you were in geology here. So I got back into aquatic animals for the most part (laughs) but they were fossils.

AM: So through geology you got into aquatic biology.

RT: Well what happened then, as I graduated I had a number of jobs that they 00:14:00wanted to see me back doing, and I had to spend one more...I couldn't get one course, so I had to wait until fall. So in the spring of 1957, the entire class of geology was hired, but I wasn't because I lacked one course. So I had to take that the next fall. So guess what? They made me a teaching assistant (laughs). So I was the teaching assistant and in the first geology courses. I finished at that time, but there were no jobs left. Everything from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia 00:15:00came in, and the price of gas would give you an idea of what happened. The price of gas before this happened was $0.22 a gallon, (laughs) and during that time when it came in 1957 it dropped $0.18.

AM: Wow, and was that considered a reasonable price for gas at the time?

RT: Oh it was cheap. It was cheap at that point. And so (long pause), as I finished I was married. I went back to get a teaching certificate for high school really quick. I went back in a small school, and also my parents had bought a tourist cart and so I did all the electrical wiring on that thing. You 00:16:00learn that when you're in training at the Navy. So anyway I did that and I taught in a small high school for a year, and I taught all the science (laughs). Then they National Science Foundation-this was the time of the cold war going pretty good and the space program was taking off and all that, so there was an emphasis on science. So they (NSF) wanted to make sure that kids in high school had people that had a good science background. So, the NSF gave me a scholarship to go back and get a master's degree and so I went back and then I was in biology. It was a one-year program, so I finished that in one year and then one 00:17:00of the old profs asked me if I wanted to go on for a PhD. So I went on in aquatic biology for a PhD at Oklahoma state. But he said that you don't have any marine work, although I was in the Navy. I was stationed near the Gulf of Mexico and so the weekends I had off, I went out and fished all along the beach from Corpus Christi area and down all the way to Mexico along the islands there. And so I had some (marine work).

But, anyway, formally I took my marine courses at University of Texas for summer. They had a person that if you're if you're taking ecology and so forth 00:18:00you might know the name of Howard Odum. You have have Howard and Eugene Odum. They were really the sort of the cream of the crop of the biologists. Howard Odum was more on the marine side, and his father or his brother was all in Georgia. One of the earlier books was written by Odum, Eugene Odum. At any rate, I was down there and I took courses that way. And when I came back and finished, I finished up. I was a graduate student also...well I did earn my living as a research assistant. All the oil refineriesin the state, they had to check on 00:19:00their discharge. So, I took the discharge water from that, and then I did toxicology work on all the fish, measuring the toxicology of that. That was a test designed by a person who later became a professor at Oregon State University named Dudderoff, Peter Dudderoff. And he is one of the pioneers in that. His parents left Russia during the revolution over there in 1918 area and so but he never lost his writing. His writing still was like German. I mean you 00:20:00didn't know what the whole thing was about until the end of the paragraph (laughs). Anyway I got to know him out here. I didn't know him then, but his basic work was how we would set up the test. So that's a little connection to Oregon State, not too much. But he was tied in with the EPA office here also.

AM: Okay.

RT: Aw you probably got enough on me.

AM: Oh no no. While you were getting your PhD, is there one or two stories of going out in the field that would characterize your research?

RT: Well, one of the things that I had to do with the research was I also had to raise all the fish (laughs). I had to raise the fish. You wanted to check juvenile fish. Usually your results varied after they got to be adults. So you 00:21:00would check the juvenile fish. It's a little fathead minnow. They still use it for the test. It's a white brat.

AM: So you raised a bunch of brats? (laughs)

RT: And so I had to raise those and get them ready for the test. That's what I did for all the oil refineries in Oklahoma. For my research...these discharge ponds, and I was looking at a small diptera. These are called midge flies. Do 00:22:00you know what those are? There are several different bodies of midge flies, about 2500 species.

AM: And they're the diptera family aren't they?

RT: Yeah. But at any rate I worked with these in the ponds. At that time, we were trying to work out energy budgets for how much energy was taken out and that sort of thing so that's what I did. I got that done, and I took a job at the University of North Dakota after that as a faculty member up there. That's in Grand Forks about 120 miles from the Canadian border along the Red River. I 00:23:00got up there in a drought, and I didn't know if they needed an aquatic biologist or not (laughs)...At any rate that was a real experience, and I started working on the lakes in North Dakota, particularly pothole lakes, glacial lakes near the Canadian border. IProbably the most significant thing I worked on was these aeration systems. Ice gets to be about a meter thick and these fairly shallow lakes start to go anaerobic in the winter. And so they the North Dakota Game and Fish put aerators in there in the bottom, and a aerator essentially pumps 00:24:00bubbles up and aerates it. You would see a hole in the ice come up and break through, and you would test that to see what is going on, and what the circulation is, and this type of thing. So I did that that work for three years. At that time the Fish and Wildlife Service was putting in what they called cooperative fishery units. The one is headed by Carl Schreck. Do you know Carl?

AM: No, I don't know Carl.

RT: Well he was one of the really fine aquatic scientists in the United States. And I hired him, sort of (laughs).

AM: So he's got to be fine researcher.

RT: But they also have a wildlife cooperative unit. If you're going into 00:25:00fisheries and wildlife now at the graduate level, those are the really the best places around the country to go, if you are in either fisheries or wildlife. Not that there are not other places that are good, but these tend to be pretty much on the cutting edge of it. And so after three years I went into one of the units. It was in South Dakota at South Dakota State, and I was the assistant unit lead there. An old friend of mine wanted me to come down and I knew all of the areas in the Dakotas pretty well, all of the fish and this kind of thing. I was there for a year and then I was asked to go to Ohio State to see if they 00:26:00wanted to hire me as their cooperative leader there. And, so that's what happened.

AM: Could you share some of the kind of projects that you worked on with that cooperative unit, the one in Ohio State?

RT: A lot of the work was centered upon Lake Erie. I think probably there are a lot of papers on some of the what the fish were feeding on and things like that. I think that one of the best was looking at what a nuclear power plant would do along the state in this area. They wanted to put one nuclear power plant right on the wildlife refuge on Lake Erie (laughs). They wanted to discharge the water 00:27:00directly out. At first they weren't going to put in the cooling tower. What we had to do was check out, okay do know what wall eyes are?

AM: Uh-huh.

RT: The discharge was going to go right over the walleye spawning bed. So, we started to do that. I protested about the putting the plant there (laughs) sort of like a fly bothering some kind of elephant. Anyway, I was told to shut up from Washington DC, and that Lyndon Johnson wanted it (laughs).

AM: So there was a kind of advocacy in part to your work?


RT: You did what you could. That was it. That was it. You had some constraints. Not really big ones at the time, but they got worse. They started wanting to review your paper before you gave it...okay? And this was...I didn't like that too well (laughs).

AM: I can see why not.

RT: So at any rate I was there and you'd do most of your work with graduate students later on. So what we were doing was checking these fish to see what temperature preferences they had and what happened. Well, there are two things that happen. One, they get a temperature preference in a stream of water and they will, in the winter, be attracted to that area that they like, however the food may not be there. And so they may start to starve. In fact they do in a lot 00:29:00of cases. The other thing that happened is, suppose they want to shut the place down. When they shut it down the discharge water is gone, and then they go from hot to cold in a hurry, and of course a lot of them die. In fact, most of them die that are in that stream. So that what we were doing -looking at the temperature preferences and this type of thing. I think the most beneficial part was looking at power plants and what they would do along that line. You can tell that most of the work I've done is applied work; its not necessarily theoretical work.

AM: And How long were you at that Ohio State cooperative fisheries unit?

RT: From 1967 until I came here in January of'75.

AM: So you came to Oregon, another OSU.


RT: Where?

AM: You came to Oregon State, another OSU (laughs). Looking at your history, you said you grandparents were pioneers in Oklahoma and then you moved to Oregon State. Was that a difficult trek West?

RT: Well, Oregon State invited me to come out (laughter from all). They sent out invitations to a number of people, so I accepted one. I kind of wanted to look at Oregon State, and I was going to a meeting in Hawaii anyway, so I was on my way. I stopped by and found out they were interested in me...so while I was out in Hawaii I got a telephone phone call telling me to come back in for a second interview, and I was hired.


MR: What were you doing in Hawaii?

RT: I was giving a paper on these aeration systems. When I was in Ohio, (the state) had some gravel pits, or lime quarries for the most part. But they're straight down like this (hand gesture). They go down maybe 40 or 60 feet, so what happens in the summer it gets warm and these stratify so the cold water is at the bottom and the warm water is at the top. Well, what they did is they wanted to put trout in these places, and the trout of course are going to have to go down to the cold water in the summer. But there isn't any food down there, so they have to come up to the top. The question is, can you mix the cold water with the warm water enough so that you can keep them alive? Well, it turns out 00:32:00it's a pretty dicey thing, but we got some money from industry people who wanted to sell oxygen tanks, and they just oxygenate the anaerobic area down at the bottom and see if we can hold that. It didn't work too well (laughter). It was a gamble. A lot of them wanted to take in lakes all over the country and I think they've pretty much gone away from that for trying to reverse that flow. But there are a lot of lakes that stratify like that and go anaerobic like that in the bottom. Oh, maybe when you're in the swimming pool and you dive down in the water, it's colder down at the bottom, okay, it's just heavier, it's what happens.


AM: Good, okay. When you came to Oregon State in the mid-70s I was thinking about how some landmark laws were being put in place the Clean water Act, the Endangered Species Act...

RT: What?

AM: (louder) The Clean Water Act. Did those more national trends affect the academic climate?

RT: Well, the EPA was actually formed at the first part of the Nixon administration, you probably know that, which set it up, and they had been the old public health service. The last year I was in graduate work, that public health service-the people who were doing this testing for toxicology across the country-they're the ones that paid for my last year of graduate school (laughs), so I had a dissertation year. The fellow that headed up that group, what became EPA, was the first director of this lab out here: (referring to the EPA lab in 00:34:00Corvallis). His name was Fritz Bartsch. And he just died a year or so ago, or a couple years now. But I think it's AF Bartsch. I've always called him Fritz (laughter from everyone), but he headed the group of scientists there that did the work on places like the Ohio River, which the steel plants in Pittsburgh and eastern Ohio and so forth shoved the waste right down into the water and waste in different places. When I went to Ohio State, in Cleveland, they had a river that caught on fire. It burned a bridge (laughs). It was from the oil and stuff that was in it. Some of that wasn't very pretty (laughs).

MR: Did you see that (the river burning)?


RT: I didn't see the fire, no. I did collect fish on the Ohio River for pesticides and got all the pesticides that type of thing, and sent them into a general lab. I did some of it myself with gas chromatography. And that's a really good technique. But the EPA lab, the lab in Cincinnati, Ohio, that's where a lot of the stuff still centers in Cincinnati. Although the EPA has regional labs now...they have one in Oklahoma, and in different places.

AM: What was the Oregon State Department of Fish and Wildlife like in the 70s? What kind of research was cutting-edge?


RT: It had a group that had been a teaching faculty for a long time. It was formed in 1935 with Professor Dimick, Roland Dimick, and he was still alive when I came here. And as he said, he started the department with a pheasant and a book by Aldo Leopold (laughs).

AM: Good way to start a department (laughter from everyone).

RT: Nevertheless, they had a group of young people in there who were first class. But the department when I got here had some really good people. One of them was Charles Warren, and Charles Warren was a really a wonderful pioneer in aquatic biology and a lot of it in environmental tests, this kind of thing. The 00:37:00laboratory at Oak Creek Lab out here is still going on, and is still one of the top places for academic work in aquatic biology. He was the best. I used his textbook when I was at Ohio State. I didn't know him at the time, because Charles didn't travel. It's one of those things. His wife was an invalid, and he would not travel very far. He might go to Seattle, or he might go as far as San Francisco, something like that. But no, he wasn't going back to the meetings. So everybody knew about him and his writings, and his graduate work, even graduate students. All those were first rate. You had another fellow named Howard Wight. Howard is a guy that started research in the wildlife unit on the spotted owl.


AM: Wow!

RT: He's the fellow that started that, along with his student. Then you had the other group in fisheries research unit. You had Jack Mclntyre and Carl Schreck.. Do some of you know Carl Schreck at all?

AM: You said he was, was he the fisheries cooperative person...?

RT: He came just the same time I did. Actually Charles Warren was acting head of the department at the time. He called me and said, "we're thinking of getting in Carl Schreck as the assistant leader of the unit, and what do you think?" And I made one call and I said, "Hire him" (laughs). Carl just this last few months ago received the Presidential award for...he was a federal employee all those 00:39:00years. So he received the Presidential award for his research, during George Bush's last things he did. Bush welcomed them to the White House-he and Jackie Schreck, his wife. So Carl's work on salmon is just first rate. At the time, he didn't start in that. He came out of Virginia Tech. And he was a faculty member there.

Then you had Howard Horton, who's an emeritus professor here now. Howard was also a really good fish biologist. A young man who later...he had just been 00:40:00hired a year of two before me, named John Crawford. John just died. But his work on birds is really well known. The last work he did on sage grouse, that he and his students did on that, will probably set the standards across the county for trying to bring back sage grouse populations.

AM: One thing I wondered is you were here (at OSU) for 20 years. How did the academic climate change or how did the things you were researching evolve?

RT: The academic climate really just got better for the most part. We formed 00:41:00probably a little closer alliance with the EPA down here. It helped that one of my former students at the University of North Dakota was working over there (laughs). But also, Fritz (Bartsch) knew who I was, but that's about it. He didn't know much more about me besides who I was. And I knew all the people who worked for him

We formed a little closer alliance with them (the EPA) and continued to have student projects there, back and forth. Also, with the state, one of the things the cooperative units do is they pull the state in right with the federal government so they and the university are all tied together. So we got into a closer working relationship with them. And we never quite got the laboratory we 00:42:00thought we could get. But you now see it at Alsea. If you have a chance to go out and see what a fish hatchery should look (laughs), it's out there. It's set up with the research center so scientists can live out there and work. It's really what we tried to get here. We almost got it several times, but we couldn't quite get the last vote to get it in when we were here. But we did set one up just by the golf course. There's aquatic biology there. Also, John Fryer's work was well-known when I came here. He was a fish virologist and bacteriologist. In other words, he worked on all those diseases.

I'm not into bacteriology or virology, however, I did work with fish parasites 00:43:00some when I was at Ohio State in a disease called the whirling disease. It infects juvenile fish and goes in and centers on the brain, so these fishes will start to whirl around like that (takes finger and makes spinning motion), particularly trout. And we brought some fish in from Europe where they have that (whirling disease) in some of the areas there. It finally got introduced almost all over the United States, and so you have to be pretty careful about that. I worked with some of that while I was at Ohio. One of the hatcheries there...and 00:44:00back and forth...we found a way we could take the spores and infect the fish with them; the spores are shed and will infect the fish. I worked with a faculty member there at Ohio State with that. But, at any rate, I got off the track here, but that's one of the things after I was gone, but it (a lab like the one in Alsea) was one of the things we tried to get after a long time. The Oak Creek Laboratory was the centerpiece really in terms of cutting-edge across the country, that one started by Charles Warren.

AM: So we're back now with Dr. Richard Tubb. He was just talking a little bit about the riots in Ohio (in the 1960s). And I don't know if you want to repeat some of what you said. Miriah missed some of it. So you were a faculty member it 00:45:00sounds like during that time?

RT: At the research unit, you also have to teach classes. I taught the aquatic biology class; they called it limnology. I taught that. It's probably more accurate to call it aquatic biology, but we started out as lakes, and we do center on lakes a lot of the time. So I taught that course here. And I wound up occasionally teaching the beginning course in fisheries and wildlife. One of the things I liked as a student and that helped me a great deal was to have professors teach the freshman classes (laughs). I actually learned how to write by a full professor teaching me basic English (laughs). What they wanted at the 00:46:00college level and at the scientific level, you have a certain style that you write as a scientist, and that's the way it is. Passive voice, past tense.

AM: The researcher stays out of the narrative. Would you mind talking about why you consider your research important?

RT: As I said, it's applied, and much of it sets up the ways in which you can manage your resources better, not to necessarily make any great scientific breakthroughs, but it does increase the management, increases the basis for managing. You're just not going out and taking shots of anything. That's the way to do it. That's the way they did it in the old days. One of the things 00:47:00particularly in fisheries is well, the fish are having a tough time so we'll build more fish hatcheries. Well, that's not necessarily the right way to go at all. They didn't have another solution, the public is asking for help with this, and that's what happens. But you need to go at it in a better way. The other thing is we've improved some of the things in the environment. I think that's true. I did a little bit on stream channelization. In Ohio-marvelous land for crops, no question. It's very flat in the northwestern part of Ohio. In fact it's part of the old Lake Eerie at one time. It's flat. So, when it rains, and so on, it doesn't drain off very fast. What they've done is to go in and tile 00:48:00the fields underneath there, so the water from these tiles then runs off into the stream, carrying with it, silt. And so then the silt clogs up, then it doesn't drain as fast as they want, so then they go and dig out the stream with shovels so it's channelized. We don't want any bends in this thing, we want all the water to get out of here. We looked at that and what it did to fish populations, which it's not a good story (laughs), for the most part.

AM: How do you think we're managing our fish now, and our resources?

RT: There's a kind of two step. You mean commercial fish?

AM: Yeah, or however you see it.

RT: You're all studying the environment, and this kind of thing. Do you know 00:49:00anything about the impact of marine fisheries over the world.

MR: Yeah, I've been working with coastal communities.

RT: So what is it over the world?

MR: Over the world? I kind of have focused on Oregon. But, I think a lot of the policy that is happening is basically putting major burdens on fishing and fisheries.

RT: I think there's kind of a general feeling around that at least 70% of the natural resources has been taken out of the commercial fisheries. The only act that was in that began to stop this was the 200-mile act, 200 fishing mile act. 00:50:00One of the fellows that was chief in setting that up, I later got him to come out to Oregon State (laughs). His name is Robert Schoening. And he lives here in town. He was with the National Marine Fisheries Service. He was also the past director or the Oregon, I've forgotten what they called it. It was the commercial wing of it at any rate. They had a commercial fishing department as well as the fish and wildlife. He was the director of that, then he was the director of the National Marine Fisheries service. Then, the administrations changed from Democrat to...or, let's see. I don't remember whether it was Republican or Democrat. One way it changed right then, and it's kind of an embarrassment to have him in there when they wanted their own person. We have a 00:51:00system called the Intergovernmental Personnel Act, which means you can bring them back to the university.

In this case, the federal government paid his salary, because he was kind of an embarrassment to have the former director then as an underling under the new director. So, they were very happy to put him out here to finish out his career. He taught our commercial fishing class. He's here on the campus, er, he's here in town if you want to call him. Robert Schoening. Maybe you want to talk to him. He's probably in the national scene. He has a whole lot better grip on it than I do, cause he retired later than I did (laughs). He was in panels all over the world as well on sea turtles and everything else. The marine resources are one, the freshwater fisheries is managed by the state pretty much. So it varies 00:52:00with them. Big problems. One of the big problems of course in the United States was the introduction of grass carp. One of the things they did wrong. It's been a problem all through the south; there's been some problems here, but not too much. Freshwater fisheries....it just has a wide range is all I can say. Just a wide range. Some places it's done very well, and some places it's not. It has gradually become better managed, though. No question about that.

AM: That's good to hear. You've done a lot throughout your career. And we wanted 00:53:00to know what you consider your greatest achievement. I first wrote this question as your greatest achievement while you were at Oregon State. But maybe you want to talk about what you consider your greatest achievement throughout your career.

RT: I don't think there's any question that it's been the students that I've had. I don't think there's any question about that. They are all over the country.

AM: Do you still keep in touch with some of them?

RT: Some of them, yes. Some of them I do. The other thing that I did try to help with the profession...one of the things I got involved with was the minority 00:54:00students, and also women in fisheries and wildlife. The Title 9 act in the 1960s brought a lot of women into fisheries and wildlife. There were always some of them at the marine level, and some of them ran fish hatcheries. But, when you went to a national meeting, 99% were there. But, we also had one of the first best books coming out on things that were going on in the environment, a book by Rachel Carson.

Rachel Carson also wrote At the Edge of the Sea and other things like this. She really had things straightened out. I think a lot of young women thought it 00:55:00might be a way to get into it. More and more women are in the field. As a graduate student, I first thought I had no option, which was true, but a lady came in from Oberlin-Margaret Ewing. Margaret was my office mate there for a while. She was a first-rate student and she eventually became a faculty member at Oklahoma State.

AM: So you were able to mentor students, not just teach them, but really help them grow professionally?


RT: Well that's true. One of the things that also happens at Ohio State...one of the other things I didn't particularly care about all the time was...Ohio is about a short plane right into Washington DC. At the time...Ohio State has their own airforce. They have their own airplane that flies their athletes around to the basketball games around to the big ten. They have their own airport. They had a plane that went into D.C. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. All you do is get on board and go, at that time. And you can walk into offices around anywhere. But the fish and wildlife service found it very convenient to put me on panels and 00:57:00things like that (laughs), calling me in. At Oregon State, they don't do that very much (laughs).

AM: It's a little further away (laughs).

RT: Once in a while. We were there, and actually the leaders of these units are federal employees, and essentially they've got the arm on you. And naturally I didn't like that, too much.

AM: You're too independent for that, huh?

RT: Well that's true. That's what my wife says too (laughs).

AM: What is one thing you would do differently, looking back at your career? Or one route you wish you took?

RT: (Pauses). Well, I think probably it would have been an advantage to me had I not gone back to Oklahoma State. However, I could get out of the Navy a month early (laugh). I had not planned to go back to Oklahoma State. I had planned to 00:58:00go to another school, a little place called Reed College. (Laughs)

AM: You mean THE Reed College here?

RT: I had planned to go to Reed College, yeah.

AM: We were curious about some more personal information like your spouse, kids, if you're willing to share that, and what you like to do outside of work and academia. What were some of your hobbies or things you did with your family?

RT: Well, we of course did a lot of things outside. No question about that .The whole family fished and went out camping and things like that. I have two sons. Both of them like the outdoors quite a bit. One of them is a pharmacist in San 00:59:00Francisco. He (pauses) also was a musician. But he decided to go onto pharmacy anyway. He still plays occasionally here with the Chintimini Orchestra and things like that, at the Chintimini Festival in the spring. He was one of the ones who helped organize it. And the other one (son) is a musician and now in real estate. He was with the group called the Crazy Eights that toured the country for 13 years. I was not particularly happy with him doing that since he lacked two quarters to graduate when he started (laughs). But he came back and finished.


AM: Are you a musician yourself?

RT: No, I'm not. Some people ask my mother about that, why isn't he a musician, she had a very short answer: no talent (laughter).

MR: And could you tell us a little about your wife and when you guys got married, what point in your career was that?

RT: Yeah, we got married in 1957 when I thought I might be working with an oil company, and I particularly had an interest in going down to South America to Venezuela. So I told her we were probably going to Venezuela, and she thought that was great, and we wound up in Oklahoma (laughter). She was a home economics teacher and she taught in the school a few miles west of Oklahoma State, at a 01:01:00little community school she out there. I was driving back and forth.

MR: And what is her name?

RT: Her name is pretty easy to spell, Farl, F-A-R-L. That is in Scottish, a piece of shortbread (laughter).

AM: Awwww, that's so endearing and sweet. And, how do you like to spend your free time now?

RT: Well, I still do quite a bit of reading, and a lot of it is history now, perhaps. I also get out. I'm with a hunting club over in central Oregon-we have 01:02:00a cabin with about 700 acres over there. We get to manage that the way we want (laughter). So the whole group, there's about 20 of us. This was started from a group from OSU to begin with. Then (thinking)....I wind up just doing a lot of volunteer work. I've been in a lot of volunteer work around. Part of it was a program called SMART, you know what that is? My wife and I were in that for quite awhile. Then one of the things I had gotten into because of another faculty member, was a program called CHAT, and that is a state program run by 01:03:00the ombudsman. You go around to the nursing homes, things like this, and just talk to some of the people there ...just talk to them , see what they are doing. You don't complain directly about some of the treatment, you refer to the ombudsman and they take care of the problem, that type of thing, and often times there are problems. One of the people I mentioned, Fritz Barsch, was out here at Stoneybrook. I asked him a lot of things, and he said I got enough money to last the rest of my life and then some, so, but he was out there and he was paying 01:04:00for services he wasn't getting, this type of thing. And he complained and complained and complained and eventually Fritz said all these people out there are just too old to complain, so he took off his shirt and went into the lunchroom this way (laughter), and he said I'll put it back on when you start taking care of these things. He was in his 90s then.

KG: Sounds like he good guy.

RT: He was. He was a pioneer at the University of Wisconsin, which in fresh water biology, was THE place at one time. I don't know what you know about Wisconsin, but it sits on a lake, University of Wisconsin on Lake Mendota, and a lot of the early aquatic work was done right there.

AM: In hearing you talk about your work, it seems very relevant, even today. Did 01:05:00you feel like the work you were doing was pushing bounds?

RT: Well, I think it was being applied pretty quickly. In other words, what we did was pretty close to being applied. One of the things I didn't mention about Ohio was some of the work I did was strip mine lakes. When they go in and mine in there, they just dig up the coal. They just take out the overburden and put it out, and we were following the way in which these lakes recovered after awhile, which is really the way that the landscape recovers. But with the ore there, you get a lot of iron deposits, and so you get the leaves out and they'd 01:06:00be covered with iron deposits. All of this was going into the streams. West Virginia has the same kinda problem with coal and sometimes the pH coming outta those streams would be low. Some of the grad students called it Pepsi-Cola because it was the pH of about Pepsi-Cola.

AM: Jeez (laughter). So do you consider yourself a sort of conservationist?

RT: Well, I've done the best I can with it. I tried to help there. What's happened over the years is the people who manage the Fisheries and Wildlife, the resources have found an area to go into. When I first started talking about 01:07:00going into wildlife biology, everybody asked me, "what are you going to be, a game warden?" (laughter) I said, "no, I don't think so." But that was their feeling at the time; it was relatively new. As I said, it started in the 30s and all over the country in '35. I graduated high school in '49. The first generation of those people to graduate actually graduated right at the time of World War II, and what happened was a lot of the departments hired their first fishery biologist, not the people that run the hatcheries, but the people who did biology, after WWII. Nevada for instance, that was one of the things. I would say Oklahoma was not far ahead of that, but that's the way that it happened. There weren't that many places over the country, and it was just 01:08:00really starting to happen after that. Another thing that happened were the acts, the Dingell-Johnson Act in fisheries, for instance, put a tax on all of the fishing equipment, and you still pay it, I think, I'm pretty sure you do. It's a tax that's just built in that they tried to repeal several times. But that money went back into the states for research. Part of that still funds research here, that (clears throat) that, but they tried to eliminate that many times, but the sportsmen said don't do it, and they stopped it. All of that came after WWII, really. That's when it came to play.

KG: You've mentioned a bunch of names of your colleagues, and you talked about 01:09:00your students, and I remember you talking about a teacher who taught you your writing style and things like that. Do have anyone else who really inspired you who you'd consider a mentor?

RT: Do you mean someone I mentored, or someone who mentored me?

KG: Somebody who maybe mentored you and inspired you?

RT: I think the thing that happened is that when you're a graduate student, you get into your reading. You're reading all the time You've got a hole built into the library and you keep up on the journals, this type of thing, you. If you've already got good basic information, you've got to use that style, you're not 01:10:00going to get by without it, that's the way you've got to do it The other thing that helps me improve and keeps me up on things was looking at all the papers that came in. When I wrote my dissertation, it was about, let's see here, about 150 pages. Anyway, when that went to publication (laughs), it was down to about three pages, and that's the way it works. And that's the way you've got to learn to cut it, and believe me, the editors are the best people you have to work 01:11:00with. After you get it back a few times, they don't take pity on you very often. So, you just have to learn it. It's just a good, tough lesson, really, and don't get discouraged when you're in there, cause they can sure discourage you (laughs).

AM: Red ink everywhere.

RT: Often after the red ink is gone and so forth, you try to write a few nice comments if you can. But, don't get discouraged by that. If you're working on your PhD, you're going to have to work your students the same way, and if you don't like it, you'll later on see that it's necessary.


MR: What other advice would you give to future fish and wildlife students here at OSU?

RT: (Pause).-.l think, the traditional programs are pretty well set. What a student needs to do, if they can, is to get out and visit around the world a little bit, get some global experience. One of the things I did here at OSU was to set up a master's aquaculture program. These were a lot of foreign students, and one of the countries we worked in at the time was called Rwanda, you may 01:13:00remember Rwanda. At any rate, one of our students, Karen Vavrika worked there for a bit, and Floyd Hansen was another one of our students that worked there. Warm water fish, tilapia, you will find in the stores now. You go in to buy fish, and you find tilapia. Well there weren't any in the stores when we started. Tilapia is a warm water fish, but it does respond well to raising them in ponds, and if you raise them correctly, you can really up the amount, and these countries are really low on protein. For instance, when we went to Rwanda, you never saw a piece of meat. I'm not necessarily saying it was entirely out, 01:14:00you wouldn't see them all the time. Basically they had meat sauce-they put a meat sauce on things, there's just not a lot of protein. So when you get into the aquaculture kinda situation with intensive aquaculture so that you put the chicken coops above the lake and the droppings go in and fertilize the lake, and the tilapia grow and can live in pretty tough conditions at times. We moved the acreage up from about 300 pounds per acre to 3000 pounds per acre, (30 minutes) as long as they really stayed on and managed it. (coughs) Anyway, that's where 01:15:00we were with the aquaculutre.

There's also the Peace Corps people around the world. That's one of the ways they'd gone in with fish culture, really, aquaculture like this, and there's a lot of people going back to the country and working with it. We had the one fellow who was a visiting professor here from Nigeria, northern part of Nigeria, and I went back to help him set up a program like that over three years in Nigeria-that as well as a fishery program on a lake. One of the things I tried to do was bring in more foreign students here and to get our faculty more 01:16:00involved because typically in fisheries and wildlife at that time, it didn't get out to other countries. You typically dealt with the resources here. Sometimes, you only dealt with one area of the country, and it's a different kind...and the faculty members need to do that too. I did. One of the things, I took on a project in Kuwait. One was to try to get away from administration a little bit (laughter), but basically, Kuwait has a lot of automobiles and back in late 1970s and early 80s, they'd go through a set of tires in a year in that hot climate and the way they drove. They believed the foot pedal outta be on the floor,, so they had a lot of tires. In Iraq, the Tigris and Euphrates come 01:17:00together into the Persian Gulf. They also bring in a lot of silt, and the coral reef areas in that area then have problems sometimes...substrates, for the invertebrates to grow on. So we made tire reefs. We were evaluating the tire reefs over the coral reefs, that was one of the fun things I got to do. We got to go back and scuba dive and really have a good time. With that background, the country of Oman, down on the tip wanted to set up a fisheries research center, so we got a contract to do that from what's USAID. We trained all of their 01:18:00scientists there and people learned to run the fisheries In fact we took faculty members from here and other places to help them with it.

AM: So you have quite a bit of international experience.

RT: Well, that's one of the things that was lacking here when I came. When I was at Ohio State, we had some of our students who went to Antarctica. Tey were working down there. And also, when I was there (at Ohio), I went to South America on a project, and so you got to do this. When I was in the navy, the air traffic, the jets were really coming into commercial around the 50s and you 01:19:00could really see that you're gonna be linked to the country. These guys fly from Texas to California for the weekend and back (laughs. Some of the things with radio navigation, you go on these and do the navigation, but often they often have a student pilot up there flying, this type of thing. They were not very fast airplanes, left over from WWII (laughter).

AM: I'm gonna ask you...

RT: I gotta finish up here.

AM: Oh no, my apologies. I was just gonna ask you a more local question. You've talked about your stuff abroad, but, you've been in Corvallis now for forty-some years...

RT: Thirty-six

AM: Right, you came here in the mid-70s, not mid-60s. How has Corvallis changed? 01:20:00How have you seen it grow and how did it look when you first came?

RT: Do you all come from large cities?

AM: I'm from Corvallis.

MR: I'm from Middletown, Connecticut, home of Wesleyan University.

RT: What University?

MR: Wesleyan RT: Okay, alright, I'm sorry, I know Wesleyan University. I didn't know what town it was in.

KG: I'm also from Connecticut.

RT: Oh, you are? Alright. Well that's good, that's good. At any rate, do you see any local grocery stores in town?

AM: There's probably the First Alternative Co-op.

RT: That's it.

AM: Yeah.

RT: Well, right where the Chevy dealership just cancelled everything, that's where there was a grocery store, a big grocery store. The Richey's that just 01:21:00closed out here was one of them. They had a number of them around and they're all gone. The other thing of course, Hewlett-Packard, had just started coming into town, and they had had projected 600 employees or something like that. It turned out to be several thousand, and now that's gone. It's in the process of leaving and it's just a matter of time now. The city's changed. I think the university's changed. We were held to 15,000 students. At the time the state would not pay any more for anything over 15,000 and so what happened at that 01:22:00time when I came in, the state paid 33% for the students, the student tuition was 33%, and the rest came from overhead from research grants and contracts. When I left, we were down to 17% (laughs), and now we're down below ten.

AM: For research contracts?

RT: No, for funding from the state. We are now a state-located university instead of a state supported one (laugh). And the other thing that I have focused on, or still try to are scholarships, so I started a fund when I was with the Rotary Club here, to get scholarships for students. You are probably aware when our local fair is going on here, but the Rotary Club people man the booths there, and we get a few thousand dollars to do that, and that goes back 01:23:00into scholarships. The other thing is, nationally, one of the large scholarship programs is in the Elks Club, not in terms of dollars, but in terms of number. They have a good program, so I work on the scholarship committee at the Elks Club here among others. A lot of people don't realize that they go up to $60,000 for a person at the national...you get win an award at the local and the district, then the state and national. If you go through all of that, why, you get a 4-year scholarship.

AM: Wow.

RT: Then you're at the top. The thing that has bothered me is that the 01:24:00opportunities, because of cost, the opportunities for students coming out of high school and so forth are diminishing very rapidly. Not that the places aren't there, not that the loans aren't there...but...Jiminy Christmas...the people coming out owe like $40,000 or more. When I was at private school, we thought it was a lot of money at $10,000 a year. It's now $41,000 or so at the private school, but this country, the thing that has set it aside from a lot of others is the opportunities that people have, and that's mainly through education. It's tough, so I've spent a lot of time working on those issues.


AM: Yeah, How are we doing on time?

KG: It looks like we have about five more minutes.

AM: Well, maybe we can end on the best years of your life?

MR: Sure.

AM: Or if you guys wanna jump in or fill in?

KG: Is there anything that maybe you feel would be important to have on record. We have about five minutes left?

RT: What?

KM: Do you have anything that you want to share that you consider important or that you want to include in our conversation?

RT: Well, I just told you, scholarships (laughter).

KM: Well, there you go! (laughter)

MR: I like this one (pointing to a question on the sheet in front of Abby)

AM: Yeah, yeah, I guess maybe we'll end on what are the best years of your life and why you consider them the best years of your life?

RT: Well, it really is in the speed at which you learn, as far as I'm concerned. And the fastest learning curve that I was on was when I became a faculty member (laughs). Suddenly I was responsible for students, graduate students, and I was 01:26:00responsible for going out and getting grants and this type of thing, plus speaking to scientific groups. I had only spoken to one group, probably, that was 200 or so, but I walk into class, beginning biology, and there are 100, 110, 120 students, and you do that and you are working til ten o'clock at night, and so you're having a great time (laughs). And so that was the fun part. Also getting into a new area is good. For example I had never worked on glacial lakes or anything like that, and getting involved in a lot of other kinds of things, the irrigation project from North Dakota, for instance. They're after federal 01:27:00money, so they're taking part of the water from the source river in North Dakota, running it through a salt area in Devil's Lake, which has been drying up for a long time. They run it through there, and they run it on back up to the Red River in Canada. This is an area that has a little less than a 90-day growing season on the irrigating land.

AM: Jeez

RT: We worked on Devil's Lake then, but, to get out and do all those things, and fortunately you're young enough to do them, and I hope you have the opportunity. Later on you won't be quite so active, (laughter).