employees, families and friends participate in Duluth’s dragon boat race each summer

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Ronald Koth

Senior Fisheries Ecologist

At Pyramid Lake, Nevada, the home of legendary Lahontan cutthroat trout
Ron on an elk hunt in the Bitterroot Mountains in Montana

Ron Koth grew up spending time outdoors, and both parents instilled him with a love of fishing. It seemed only natural to pursue a career as a fisheries biologist. Even his junior high school aptitude tests pointed him to outdoor and natural resources careers.

“I’ve focused my career more on improving, reclaiming, and enhancing habitat,” said Ron, “than on fisheries management, which is what most fisheries biologists do. I want to leave things better than they were.”

While working at the South Dakota Department of Game Fish and Parks, he and his team put in place guidelines to help navigate an increasingly regulated climate. He also worked on a number of high profile projects. Among the most memorable was the restoration of a Spearfish Creek tributary in the Black Hills where the reach had been dammed and diverted for hydro plants and hadn’t flowed in a century.

Working through legal, political, and permitting issues can be just as challenging, but Ron appreciates engaged stakeholders.

“Many stakeholders initially only see the part of the picture that relates to them or their land,” said Ron. “It’s fun working in situations where people are excited about doing something with a natural resource and then bringing all those pieces together so they can understand the whole picture.”

And more than 30 years later, Ron is still passionate about the work he does, although he never expected to work as a private consultant.

“I thought my professional career would end in public service with the state,” admitted Ron, “but coming to Barr allows me to work on fish habitat, fish passage, and stream restoration projects beyond South Dakota.”

In his free time, Ron also works on habitat improvements for birds and game. Or you might find him outdoors with his golden retrievers or building a line fence.

“When my sons were young, we’d go fishing. As they got older, we restored two 1950s Willys Jeeps,” said Ron. “Now I’m helping my youngest son with his plans to start a brewery in Rapid City.”