Mariska Obedzinski Honored with Golden Pipe Award for Innovation in Salmon Recovery

Bryndan Bedel

Mariska Obedzinski, a Sea Grant Extension Specialist dedicated to salmon recovery efforts, has been honored with the Golden Pipe Award for her team’s contributions to the advancement of salmon monitoring in California. This recognition serves as a testament to her team’s tireless commitment and innovative approaches to helping conserve these iconic fish species.

Obedzinski's work is marked by years of collaboration within the realm of fish ecology and conservation. As a vital member of the California Sea Grant program, she plays an important role in shedding light on the complexities of salmon recovery. Through its involvement in various projects and initiatives, Obedzinski’s team has contributed invaluable insights into the factors influencing salmon populations and the strategies needed to ensure their survival.

One of the key initiatives that underscored Obedzinski's commitment to salmon recovery is the development of the Russian River Salmon and Steelhead Monitoring Program. This effort, supported by funding from local, state, and federal partnering agencies, aims to monitor salmonid populations, identify survival bottlenecks, and inform recovery strategies in the Russian River watershed. Obedzinski introduced new fish tagging technology to the watershed which has been instrumental in supporting the conservation of coho salmon and steelhead populations in the region.

Obedzinski's team has also developed novel tools for sharing data and making it accessible to resource managers and restoration practitioners. Through web-mapping dashboards, presentations and participating in collaborative workgroups, their efforts have played a vital role in informing and evaluating salmon recovery.

The Golden Pipe Award, presented by the Salmonid Restoration Federation, recognizes individuals who have demonstrated innovation in advancing salmon recovery. But it also serves as a reminder of the ongoing challenges faced by salmon populations in California and the creative solutions needed to ensure their persistence. Climate change, habitat degradation, and other human-induced pressures continue to threaten the survival of these fish. However, with efforts like the Russian River Salmon and Steelhead Program, there is hope for a brighter future for salmon and their habitats.

Watch the video of Mariska receiving her award:



About California Sea Grant

NOAA’s California Sea Grant College Program funds marine research, education and outreach throughout California. Headquartered at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego, California Sea Grant is one of 34 Sea Grant programs in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Department of Commerce.