Seattle City (spot)Light: Jeff Fisher

Jeff Fisher will celebrate his one-year anniversary working for City Light in July. “My official title is senior aquatic ecologist and strategic advisor,” Jeff explained. “My job is a bit of a meld of straight technical fisheries and water quality work with policy support focused on broader Endangered Species Act (ESA) and Clean Water Act issues that could affect the utility’s operations.”

Jeff’s father served in the Navy Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps in Hawaii. After his resignation, their family moved to Seattle in 1966. “I am essentially from Washington, though I have lived in many different states and a few different countries.” He currently lives in Olympia with his wife and two teenage sons. “Having grown up in Magnolia, I was ready for a change- and more affordable real estate, so we moved (to Olympia) in 2000.”

In this week’s (spot)Light, Jeff talks about finding City Light, his unique hobbies, and more about his work at the utility.

“I went to the University of Washington where I received my B.S. in fisheries biology, went on to get my master’s in aquatic pathobiology from Stirling University in Stirling, Scotland and earned my Ph. D in environmental toxicology from Cornell. I actually saw the position for City Light posted when I was living overseas in Ireland and working at Ireland’s Marine Institute. Given my background with ESA policy, the desire to get back and do more on the ground research, some family desires to return to the U.S., and my connection to the Skagit basin from early childhood, it seemed like a really good fit.”

“What’s nice about Olympia is the proximity to Puget Sound, the Olympic Mountains and the less crowded portions of the Cascades. Also, as an aquatic scientist who wanted to find a way to ‘keep my feet wet,’ I had the desire to find property where I might start a shellfish farm—which I did back in 2006. Some of my other hobbies include playing a bit of guitar, making wine, and I love to ski, fish and kayak- hanging out with my family is right up there too.”

“Much of the policy-focused work I do is related to regulatory actions on the Columbia River that may affect some of our operations. On the Skagit, my work is primarily focused on supporting the ongoing relicensing effort as part of the ‘Fish and Aquatic’ team, and I am particularly focused on reservoir related research that includes furthering an ongoing study with Bull Trout to better understand their movements and behaviors within the Skagit reservoirs.”

“The Environment, Land and Licensing business unit is very deep with talent and experienced scientists and managers—several of whom I have known for many years. There seems to be an expert in just about every relevant discipline, so it makes for a very collegial environment. It doesn’t hurt that the field work I do on occasion happens to be in one of the most scenic environments in the country, if not the world.”