Rick Clark, Ph.D.

Rick Clark

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Visiting Scholar
Department of Fisheries and Wildlife



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  • Ph.D. - Natural Resources Management, University of Michigan, 1985
  • M.S. - Fisheries Science, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 1974
  • B.S. - Zoology, Pennsylvania State University, 1972


I started my career in Austin, Texas in 1975 as a wildlife statistical analyst with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.  I provided computer and statistical support for biologists working on projects involving mourning doves, largemouth bass, and walleye.

From 1977 to 1993, I worked as a Fisheries Research Biologist with Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR), Institute for Fisheries Research (IFR) in Ann Arbor.   I was fortunate to work on a broad range of fisheries stock assessment projects that covered almost all of the recreationally and commercially important fishes in Michigan.   I assessed fisheries and developed decision analysis tools for:  brook trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, and smallmouth bass in streams;  lake trout, whitefish, Pacific salmon, walleye,  yellow perch, and channel catfish in the Great Lakes;  and walleye, northern pike, muskellunge, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, bluegill, yellow perch, brook trout, brown trout, rainbow trout in Inland lakes.

From 1993 to 2000, I served as Director of Fisheries Research and Evaluation Section for Fisheries Division, MDNR.   I provided leadership in planning and implementing the Division’s Fisheries Research Program and directed activities of six research stations across the State.   In addition, I was a member of Fisheries Division Management Team where I participated in making major decisions on Division programs and management and served as Acting Division Chief when Chief was absent.   I guided the editorial process for Fisheries Division Research and Technical Reports and approved final versions of reports for publication.  I managed Fisheries Division-university partnerships (including PERM at MSU) and administered Fisheries Division’s research grants to State universities.

From 2000 to 2002, I served as Tribal Affairs Manager for Fisheries Division of MDNR.  I was a member of the State of Michigan’s negotiating team for the federal court cases involving allocation of Great Lakes fish stocks between State and Tribal fishers.  My primary role was to help develop the scientific basis for the State’s position in the case.  I designed and ran computer models of lake trout populations to forecast results of alternative resource allocation schemes, fishing efforts, fishing methods, and gear types.  I helped explain the biological issues to attorneys, policy makers, and user groups. I coauthored portions of the final agreement (2000 Great Lakes Consent Decree).   Later, I was responsible for guiding Fisheries Division’s implementation of the 2000 Great Lakes Consent Decree, overseeing the newly created Tribal Fisheries Coordination Unit, and developing and coordinating research projects to support implementation.  I was also responsible for preparing Fisheries Division for the next phase of the case regarding treaty fishing rights in inland waters.  This included developing position papers, biological data and survey protocols, fisheries computer models, and management and enforcement protocols.  During the preparatory phase of this case, I designed and helped to implement a statewide stock assessment program for large, inland lakes in Michigan and led the redesign of MDNR’s statewide catch and harvest survey, which basically expanded the ongoing Great Lakes survey to include important inland waters.  I retired from MDNR in 2002.

From 2002 to 2008, I continued working on inland treaty fishing issues through Adjunct positions at the University of Michigan and Michigan State University.  I served as member of State of Michigan’s negotiating team in the Inland Treaty case.  My primary role in this case was similar to that of the Great Lakes case.    I coauthored portions of the final agreement (2007 Inland Treaty Consent Decree).

Along the way, I got involved with the American Fisheries Society (AFS) and the Great Lakes Fishery Commission (GLFC).   With AFS, I served as Associate Editor of the North American Journal of Fisheries Management from 1987-89 and President of the Michigan Chapter for 1994.   With GLFC, I worked on numerous issues with the Lake Michigan Lake and Technical Committees, including coauthoring Lake Michigan’s Fish Community Objectives 1995 and serving as chair of the Lake Michigan Salmonine Stocking Task Group 1997-98.

From 2009 to 2011, I was fully retired from fisheries work, but kept busy running my Pinto horse farm.   In June 2011, I came back to work on quantitative fisheries projects with the QFC.


I have extensive experience in designing, constructing, and implementing fisheries stock assessment programs and management protocols. Over my career, I have developed and utilized fisheries simulation models to evaluate the effects of fishing and harvest policies, including recreational and commercial fisheries applications, multiple gear and stakeholder situations, stocking policy evaluations, and lamprey mortality evaluations. My models have been used extensively to evaluate fishing regulations and stocking policies for lake trout and Chinook salmon in Lake Michigan and many sport fish populations in inland waters of the State of Michigan. My work at the QFC has focused on stock assessment of trout and salmon in Lake Michigan.

Selected Publications:

Maguffee, A.C., R. Reilly, R.D. Clark, Jr., M.L. Jones. 2018. Examining the potential of otolith chemistry to determine natal origins of wild Lake Michigan Chinook salmon. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences.

Clark, R.D., Jr., Bence, J.R., Claramunt, R.M., Clevenger, J.A., Kornis, M.S., Bronte, C.R., Madenjian, C.P., and Roseman, E.F. 2017. Changes in movements of Chinook Salmon between lakes Huron and Michigan after Alewife population collapse. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 37(6):1311–1331.

Clark, R. D., Jr., J. R. Bence, R. M. Claramunt, J. E. Johnson, D. Gonder, N. D. Legler, S. R. Robillard, and B. D. Dickinson. 2016. A Spatially explicit assessment of changes in Chinook Salmon Resume - R. D. Clark, Jr. - 4  fisheries in Lakes Michigan and Huron from 1986 to 2011. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 36:1068-1083

Madenjian, C. P., D. B. Bunnell, D. M. Warner, S. A. Pothoven, G. L. Fahnenstiel, T. F. Nalepa, H. A. Vanderploeg, I. Tsehaye, R. M. Claramunt, R. D. Clark, Jr. 2015. Changes in the Lake Michigan food web following dreissenid mussel invasions. Journal of Great Lakes Research 41, Suppl. 3:217–213.

Clark, R. D., Jr., and B. Huang. 1985. The conflict between sportfishing, commercial fishing, and rehabilitation of lake trout in Lake Michigan. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 5:261-276. (Received Best Paper Award for 1985).

Clark, R. D., Jr., G. R. Alexander, and H. Gowing. 1980. Mathematical description of trout stream fisheries. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 109:587-602.