Robert T. Lackey

Courtesy Professor
Robert.Lackey [at]

Office: 541-737-0569
Other: 541-602-5904

Weniger Hall

Weniger Hall 459

103 SW Memorial Place

103 SW Memorial Place
Corvallis, OR 97331

Research Interests:  Assessing alternative Pacific Northwest ecological futures; Pacific salmon policy and management; ecosystem management and alternative management paradigms; ecological policy and decision analysis; interface between science, scientists, and policy.

Pacific Northwest 2100 Project

           My primary work these days is associated with the Pacific Northwest 2100 Project.  This Project addresses the three overarching policy realities that will challenge natural resource and environmental agencies in the Pacific Northwest through this century:  (1) the likely dramatic increase in the numbers of humans inhabiting Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and British Columbia;  (2) a dramatically different climate which will impose different ecological constraints;  and (3) the ongoing and intensifying collective demand for ecosystem services.  Each of these three policy factors is critical in driving future ecological changes and each is inextricably intertwined.

Salmon 2100 Project

          Throughout California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and southern British Columbia, wild salmon runs have declined and many have disappeared.  The goal of the Salmon 2100 Project is to improve the quality and utility of assessments of the ecological consequences of options to restore wild salmon.  It involves close collaboration with policy analysts, policy makers, policy advocates, and fisheries scientists in many organizations to develop long-term and broad-scale forecasts that are both policy relevant and scientifically credible.  The hallmark of this effort is not to advocate for any specific policy choice, but rather to present the various policy options and an assessment of the probability of success of each.

Profile Field Tabs

Affiliated with: 
Fisheries and Wildlife
Do you accept grad students?: 
I accept graduate students for the Fisheries and Wildlife Department
Courses Taught: 

FW 620 - Ecological Policy

             The emphasis in FW 620 is on current and controversial North American and international ecological policy issues.  The primary focus is exploring the role of scientists, technocrats, elected and appointed officials, the public, and interest/advocacy groups in ecological policy analysis and implementation.  Specific topics considered are:  (1) basic principles of policy analysis;  (2) managing wildfire on public lands;  (3) balancing competing demands for scarce water supplies;  (4) managing large predatory wildlife, especially wolves, cougars, and grizzlies;  (5) recovering and sustaining wild salmon runs;  (6) determining appropriate use of genetically modified organisms;  (7) resolving multiple use conflicts in managing public forests;  (8) tackling human-caused climate change;  (9) assessing the political clash over whaling and other marine mammals;   and (10) unscrambling conflict and controversy over marine protected areas and ecosystem management.

OSU Main Campus
Beyond OSU

Dr. Robert T. Lackey, a U.S./Canada dual citizen, is a scientist with extensive experience with natural resource and environmental policy issues.  He is an internationally recognized expert on salmon science and policy.  Currently residing in Corvallis, Oregon, he is professor of fisheries science at Oregon State University.  In 2008, he retired after 27 years with the Environmental Protection Agency’s 300+ person national research laboratory in Corvallis where he served as Deputy Director, Associate Director for Science, and in other senior leadership positions.  He was Deputy Director of the laboratory for 11 years.

Starting with a 1964 summer job working in a California fish hatchery, Dr. Lackey has been involved with an array of natural resource issues from various positions in government and academia.  His professional assignments involved diverse aspects of natural resource and environmental management, but were mainly at the interface between science and policy.  He has published over 100 articles in scientific journals and authored or edited 5 books.  He is best known for his work in synthesizing realistic and relevant scientific assessments of politically divisive natural resource and environmental problems.  Dr. Lackey has presented hundreds of invited speeches on aquatic and terrestrial ecology, freshwater and marine fisheries, salmon science and policy, climate change, acid rain, biological diversity, ecological policy, and clarifying the proper role of science in public policy.

Dr. Lackey’s international professional experience includes U.S. Government assignments in Egypt, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Canada, and the Russian Far East.  He has served as a consultant or reviewer to many government agencies, private sector organizations, and national and international philanthropic foundations, including the Wild Salmon Ecosystems Initiative of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. He has testified before the U.S. Congress as an expert witness and has often briefed elected officials, political appointees, and senior government policy makers regarding the best available science relevant to various contentious issues.

Dr. Lackey has long been an educator, having taught at five North American universities. He continues to teach a graduate course in ecological policy at Oregon State University.  He was a Fulbright Senior Scholar at the University of Northern British Columbia during the 1999-2000 academic year.  Dr. Lackey holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Science from Colorado State University and was selected as the 2001 Honored Alumnus by CSU’s College of Natural Resources.  He is a Certified Fisheries Scientist, a Fellow of the American Institute of Fishery Research Biologists, and a Fellow of the American Fisheries Society.

In 2008 Dr. Lackey was awarded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s highest honor — the Gold Medal — for exceptional contributions in strengthening the role of science in ecological policy.  He has received numerous other professional awards over his career.  In 2011, he was selected to present a plenary address at the annual meeting of the American Fisheries Society, an international conference attended by over 4,000 fisheries and aquatic scientists and managers.


My Publications