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Thomas C. “Tom” Annear


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Tom Annear
Tom Annear

Tom Annear is a fisheries biologist who has made regionally, nationally, and internationally significant contributions to instream flow science. Tom went to Iowa State University for his BS in Fisheries and Wildlife Biology and to Utah State University for his MS in Wildlife Ecology. Tom was employed by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department for over 37 years from 1981 – 2018 serving as a Special Project Biologist, Instream Flow Supervisor, and Water Management Supervisor. Tom developed protocols for Wyoming’s instream flow program that are still in use today. Forming strong relationships with other state and federal agencies, communities, legislators, and anglers to advance the acceptance of instream flow was a key to his success. He directed studies that established over 140 instream flow water rights and conducted aquatic impact assessments for every major dam proposal in Wyoming from 1983 to 2017.

Tom created the X-Stream Angler Program in Wyoming to inform anglers of the values of water in streams and worked with conservation organizations to promote the benefits associated with instream flow law changes. He developed a graduate level course at the University of Wyoming to impart a practical awareness in the next generation of natural resource managers on how to integrate science, law, policy and the public in natural resource management.

Tom recognized that the instream flow issues he dealt with in Wyoming were also faced by state and provincial fisheries biologists throughout the U.S. and Canada. He used his experiences, talents and network of contacts to help form the Instream Flow Council (IFC), an association of state and provincial fish and wildlife agency personnel involved in water management decisions. His efforts have guided and sustained the IFC by serving as the first IFC President (1998-2000) and on the IFC Executive Committee as a Director-At-Large since 2004. Tom has a keen sense of educational topics that benefit instream flow practitioners. That is reflected by his service on the planning committees for four international IFC workshops (FLOW 2008, 2011, 2015, 2018) and he was the overall program chair for two of them.

Tom secured funding for and was the lead author on three IFC books and coauthor on another book. These books are used around the world and are regarded as seminal texts on the subject of instream flow. Tom was the project leader for IFC’s International Instream Flow Program Initiative that assessed the status and effectiveness of state and provincial fish and wildlife agency instream flow programs in the U.S. and Canada.

Tom has written 13 major scientific publications, over 100 popular articles and agency reports and over 75 educational articles on instream flow. He has been an invited speaker at numerous national and international symposia and water law conferences and he helped address instream flow and water level issues on a variety of projects in the U. S., Puerto Rico, Canada, Australia and Europe.

Tom Annear has definitely made a difference to promote, develop, and share the importance of instream flow science, law and policy in the United States. His impact will be felt for decades to come.

Executive Committee, Fisheries Management Section, American Fisheries Society