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NPS Leadership spotlight: Susan Wood, fisheries biologist at Grand Canyon National Park

I moved out west after college to begin a position as a volunteer on the North Rim in 2010. I worked there as an interpretive ranger for three seasons before I volunteered with the Grand Canyon fish crew on the Bright Angel Creek trout removal project. That winter made me want to work in fisheries, especially with the desert fishes of the Colorado River basin.

I floated some amazing stretches of the Green, Colorado and San Juan Rivers in the upper basin, catching native and endangered fish for the state of Utah out of their Moab field office.

But the canyon kept pulling me back, and I’ve worked on the GRCA fish crew for several winters, as well as the Razorback Sucker larval monitoring trips on the Colorado River through Grand Canyon. In 2021, I started a masters program in Environmental Science and Policy at NAU in Flagstaff where I’ve been researching novel removal tools for invasive crayfish. I’ll be done in May, and I’m looking forward to spending more time outside and in the canyon!

How long have you worked at GRCA? Where are you based out of? 

I’ve been working seasonally and intermittently at Grand Canyon for thirteen years, but I have been working as a Park Fish biologist for three weeks now, and I’m based out of Flagstaff.

What have you enjoyed the most about working and/or living at GRCA so far?

The native fish of the Grand Canyon and the people who study them are amazing to work with. These fish are pretty unique: Razorback suckers have a bizarre-looking bony keel, and Humpback Chubs make squeaky noises when you hold them, but I think the Bluehead Suckers are my favorite.

Thoughts on all this snow?

I am always on team winter, I love snow! This is how Flagstaff and Grand Canyon are supposed to look this time of year!

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