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Conserving Earth: Paddlefish/Caddo Lake

The continent’s oldest surviving species is the Paddlefish. Over 350 million years old, it was once native to Caddo Lake, but died out after the dam at Lake O’ the Pines was constructed. It is now the poster child for a landscape level conservation project called “environmental flows.” Mike Montagne and Laura-Ashley Overdyke discuss the reintroduction of paddlefish to Caddo Lake, as well as the broader conservation work that allowed this to happen. Environmental flows at Caddo Lake restore and maintain thousands of acres of river habitat, wetlands, and the mature forests that surround Caddo; by doing this, hundreds of species benefit, as do humans. For more on the paddlefish you can go to https://caddolakeinstitute.org/paddlefish/ and environmental flows https://caddolakeinstitute.org/flows-project/.

Laura-Ashley Overdyke, Executive Director of the Caddo Lake Institute. For the past four years, Laura-Ashley has worked with government partners, other nonprofits, and the community to protect a wetland of international importance, Caddo Lake, that is home to a diverse assemblage of plant and animal life. Her diverse two decade career has a common theme - sharing scientific information with the broader public. She previously worked for the National Geographic Society, National Geographic Channel, White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, KTBS, and the Community Foundation of North Louisiana.

Mike Montagne has been the project leader for the Texas Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office (TXFWCO) since 2010. The TXFWCO is located in San Marcos Texas and they do fisheries work throughout the entire State of Texas. Mike previously managed the Ouray National Fish Hatchery, in Vernal Utah. Mike has been a fish biologist for the USFWS for 27 years.