The California Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit is a cooperative effort among Cal Poly Humboldt, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the United States Department of the Interior, Geological Survey, the Wildlife Management Institute and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. The cooperators pool resources to accomplish our stated mission to:

  1. Conduct scientific research that benefits fish, wildlife, their habitats, and ecosystems upon which they depend;
  2. Train graduate fisheries and wildlife management students, through mentoring and teaching graduate level courses, to become competent fisheries and wildlife scientists; and
  3. Provide technical assistance to the fisheries and wildlife profession by sponsoring training workshops, reviewing and writing manuscripts for publication, and coordinating research activities.


The California Unit is one of 40 similar units established under the Federal Organic Act at universities throughout the United States. The Cooperative Unit Program began in 1935. Cooperators include the U. S. Geological Survey, State Fish and Wildlife Agencies, the Universities, and in some instances, other conservation agencies. The units conduct research of benefit to cooperators, train graduate students and provide research information to agencies and the public. Cooperative Units professional staff members are federal employees of the US Geological Survey and serve as faculty at their host university.

The California Cooperative Research Unit, established in 1967, and modified in 2008, is located in Arcata, California on the northern California coast at Humboldt Bay. The Unit is affiliated with the College of Natural Resources and Sciences, Cal Poly Humboldt.

Topics addressed by current projects include the ecology of salmon and steelhead, the ecology of fish in coastal lagoons, physical and chemical processes in streams and lakes. The Unit also conducts and facilitates research on wildlife topics including: the distribution of oceanic birds and mammals, amphibian ecology and wetland ecology.