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Annual Ring Yearbook Archive

2021 Hall of Fame

The LSU Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries Alumni Association (FWFAA) honored its distingued Alumnus at its annual meeting at LSU. This year’s inductees to the LSU Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries Alumni Association Hall of Fame are Dr. Bill Herke, and Dr. Fred Bryan.


Dr. Bill Herke

Dr. Bill Herke, 2021 Hall of Fame Honoree

Born November 27. 1929 on a farm in Iowa during the Great Depression. (I can still remember my father burning perfectly good ear corn in the cook stove because there was no market for it.) But unlike our town neighbors, at least we had plenty to eat.

Went to a one room country school until 5th grade when school closed. Then to school in town until graduated high school at head of a class of 13. To Loras college, Dubuque. Iowa for 2 years.

December 1950 enlisted in Air Force before I was drafted for Korean “Police Action.” Trained to be a medical lab technician. Served in Texas, Maine, Japan, and Johnston Island. Discharged as S/Sgt., September, 1954.

Married fiancé Joan Farrell. October. 1954. Together had 4 children. Kristin, John, David. and Scott.

Also entered Iowa State University. BS 1956 and MS 1957.

Hired by Florida Game and Freshwater Commission 1958. Duty was to try to obtain mitigation of damages to fish and wildlife from water control projects of Army Corps of Engineers and State agencies. Could not support my family on Commission salary. So accepted a job with the US Fish and Wildlife Service in 1962 in same town with same duty.

In 1963 (to avoid transfer to Atlanta)) accepted the position of Acting Leader of newly created Louisiana Cooperative Fishery Research Unit. (Could not be Leader because I did not have a PhD.) In 1964 I began my research on the effects on fisheries of weirs constructed in the coastal marsh. (Weirs are dams across tidal channels with a crest 6 inches below marsh soil level.) I pioneered the use of an airboat to sample fish and crustacean use of shallow marsh water.

Working full time at my position of Acting or Assistant Leader of the Fishery Unit, and also working on my dissertation research, I completed my dissertation in 1971 and received my PhD. My Dissertation was entitled “Use of natural, and semi-impounded, Louisiana tidal marshes as nurseries for fishes and crustaceans”. Received a million-dollar contract from US Soil Conservation Service to continue study of the effect of weirs on fisheries. My team and I completed a series of studies that conclusively proved weirs were seriously harming fisheries. As a result, permits to construct weirs have become harder to obtain and have more restrictions.

The study of the effects of water control structures on fisheries, and the use of the coastal marsh as a nursery for fish and crustaceans, became my life’s professional work. By the time of my retirement in 1994 I had published over 60 articles mostly on that subject.

In 1986, Dr. Herke was given the Governor’s Award. Conservationist of the Year, presented by the Louisiana Wildlife Federation, the National Wildlife Federation, and Sears Roebuck and Co.

In 2001 he was honored with the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association, Arthur Van Pelt Award, Lifetime Conservation Achievement.


For more information contact, Dr. Luke Laborde, LSU Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries Alumni Association. phone: (225) 578-4146 | fax: (225) 578-4251 | Email: llabor2@lsu.edu


Dr. Fred Bryan

Dr. Fred Bryan, 2021 Hall of Fame honoree

Dr. Fred Bryan (introduced by Dale Hall, 2018 RNR Hall of Fame recipient)

Fred started his career with a BA in biology, 1959 from Bellarmine College, and a Ph.D in Zoology in 1965 from the University of Louisville. Fred went on to numerous other jobs and positions, but the main thing that he really he hung with and made his mark on was at LSU and the Louisiana Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit of the Fish And Wildlife Service, at LSU. For the University and the state of Louisiana… those cooperative units are very important across the nation.

Fred was there from 1971 until. 2003 and I was one of the lucky beneficiaries, of Fred being there and being able to come and be there. Fred was a project administrator, principal investigator and co-investigator for over 30 riverine and estuarine and research projects. He was funded with $10 million and supported over 140 scientist years of research and growth of scientists and new conservationist. His main issues and main mark will forever be in the Atchafalaya Basin.

And I know that you're proud to have authored and co-authored, edited and co-edited more than 80 books and been in lots and lots of symposia and other works, and I know you're proud of that, and I know that you think that science is your legacy, but I would respectfully disagree.

Your greatest accomplishments rest in the dozens of scientists that you nurtured over the years, including this humble young fellow from the hills of Eastern Kentucky; you get you gave me a chance, when the eastern Kentucky university left me hanging.you gave me the ladder to the future, you and LSU accepted me and became not just friends, but family. I was down there alone until I met my bride at 45 years (sitting here next to me) and I had nowhere to go, but you made sure that I was family and that every one of your students felt like they were family.

You accepted me based on a friend’s recommendation and made me a member of that family and you and Barbara attended Sarah and my wedding in Bunkie.and sat on my side of the aisle because I, as the groom had no family there; my mother was it. A couple of Grad students and a couple others were there, but you all were there to be part of my family.

I keep saying this because, as professors, I want you all to know how important it is that you are seen not just as the leaders and mentors, but you're, seen as father and mother figures. You're, seen as surrogates to help these students find their way. That is the most important thing I believe you'll ever do. And that's what great leaders do -- they change the lives of people in their charge.Without your dedication to growing wetland and fisheries scientists, I really don't know where I am a lot of my cohorts would have ended up.

Fred I want to thank you on behalf of all of us, for your professional training, I want to thank the school that values people more than money. And for my bride of 45 years sitting next to me, because if you hadn't given me the chance to come to LSU Sarah and I would never met we wouldn't had our three beautiful children and the life that we've had, and I was blessed in my career because of the training that you helped me have, to build me, and get me ready to move forward through the Fish and Wildlife Service.

Of 38 students between Humboldt and LSU, thirteen went on to Ph.Ds; one is an MD and two to Law school.

People are our only real legacy - the people we help, the people we nurture, the people we grow. Fred Bryan, your legacy is one to be proud of. I'm certainly proud to be one of your admirers one of your students and one of your fans. Congratulations on this well deserved honor.

revised: 24-May-2021 11:37