Tom Waters Memorial


TFW No. 2 WINTERA wonderfully telling Obituary:




Award of Excellence
Definition: Given to recognize outstanding scientists in the fields of fisheries and aquatic biology.
Recipient: Dr. Thomas F. Waters

Dr. Thomas F. Waters has been awarded the 1999 AFS Award of Excellence based on his exemplary contributions to aquatic ecology and fisheries science in the areas of research, graduate and undergraduate education, and public service.

Biography. Educated at Michigan State University where he earned his BS, MS, and PhD degrees, Dr. Waters began his career as an agency fishery biologist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. After just two years in this position he was hired by the Department of Entomology, Fisheries, and Wildlife at the University of Minnesota as an Assistant Professor in 1958, promoted to Associate Professor in 1961, and to Full Professor in 1968. His rapid rise through the academic ranks was a portent of impressive career-long contributions. Earning the title Professor Emeritus in 1991, Dr. Waters retired from the University of Minnesota only to continue his ecological work in streams and rivers. As a long-standing member of the American Fisheries Society, Dr. Waters served as a founding member, and then President, of the Minnesota Chapter. His editorial contributions included serving as Associate Editor for both the Transactions of the American Fisheries Society and the American Midland Naturalist, and as an editorial committee member of the North American Benthological Society.

Research Accomplishments. Dr. Waters is one of those rare scientists whose research leads to fundamental changes in the way others think about their fields and whose contributions, though fundamental in nature, lead to practical advances in the related applied fields. Dr. Waters is world renown for his pioneering research in stream ecology, particularly secondary production rates and the phenomenon of invertebrate drift. His pioneering documentation of invertebrate drift published in Ecology (1962), “Diurnal Periodicity in the Drift of Stream Invertebrates”, set the stage for him and many other investigators to study invertebrate drift and its importance to the feeding ecology and production rates of stream fishes. Named as a Citation Classic by Current Contents in 1984, this paper is one of the most frequently cited papers in ecology. His paper in Advances in Ecological Research (1977), “Secondary Production in Inland Waters” significantly advanced our understanding of secondary production rates in inland waters and their relationship to fish production and sport-fish management. That paper also earned Citation Classic status in 1989. Most recently, Dr Waters has promoted the linkage between benthic science and fisheries management, a linkage that will garner more interest as we move toward ecosystem-based management.

To a very large extent, modern stream management techniques for the enhancement of fisheries are based directly and indirectly on Dr. Waters’ contributions. To date, his 30 or so first authored publications have been cited over 1,300 times (ISI Science Citation Index database). His recent book, Sediment in Streams: Sources, Biological Effects, and Control, published by AFS, is a long-awaited, major contribution to our discipline.

Service: Not content to communicate with only the scientific community, Dr. Waters has had a strong commitment to educating the general public. He has been involved with numerous groups to promote stream and river conservation at the local, regional, and national levels, including the Minnesota Extension Service, Trout Unlimited, Nature Conservancy, the Smallmouth Alliance, and was a founding member of River Heritage. He has given a number of talks to regional groups on river issues and is often consulted by conservation organizations. He has published two widely read, popular books – The Streams and Rivers of Minnesota and The Superior North Shore; these books combine a wealth of scientific, natural history, and social history information in a useful and enjoyable presentation. His recent book, Timberdoodle Tales, based on campfire hunting stories is popular among grouse and woodcock hunters.

Although he has been retired since 1991, his activity in both scientific and public education continues. For example, Dr. Waters has just completed a manuscript entitled “Long-term Trout Production Dynamics in Valley Creek, Minnesota”, a sterling piece of work which includes his analysis of 21 years of trout population and production dynamics. Now in press in the Transactions of the American Fisheries Society, this documents in some detail the replacement of brook trout by brown trout. In the words of one nominator, this paper is sure to become a significant contribution to fisheries and our understanding of the role of exotic species in stream ecosystems. He has finished yet another book as well, to be published in spring, 2000, by Riparian Press (Dr. Waters’ press) and entitled Wildstream: A Natural History of the Free Flowing River; this text, like most of his previous books, is geared toward a knowledgeable lay audience, primarily trout fishers, canoeists, hikers, and anyone who loves rivers.

Teaching. As a classroom teacher, Dr. Waters was, simply put, first-rate! His student evaluations of teaching were consistently among the best in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Minnesota. And this was true for both undergraduate and graduate courses. Dr. Waters contributed to the discipline of fisheries ecology by serving as major adviser to 10 Ph.D. students during his career at Minnesota, including Charles S. Holt (Professor, Bemidji State University, retired), Jerry W. Elwood (Research Scientist, Oak Ridge National Lab), David R. McConville (Professor, St. Mary’s College, Winona, MN), Dennis K Shiozawa (Professor, Brigham Young University), Charles C. Krueger, (Professor, Cornell University), Paul C. Marsh (Research Scientist, Arizona State University), Ray Newman (Professor, University of Minnesota), and Tom Kwak (Leader, North Carolina Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit). Of his 16 Masters students, more than 50% went to work as biologists for Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (testament to the deep appreciation that MDNR had for students educated in Dr. Waters’ laboratory) with others going on to productive positions with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, other state agencies, and private companies. That he had a tremendous impact on the fisheries field, directly through his own research efforts and indirectly through his students is certainly exemplified by his record of accomplishments. As a Society, we bestow the Award of Excellence, our highest honor, on Dr. Thomas F. Waters, research scientist, mentor, and educator par excellence.

TFW ON LOG, w-o staff






Waters, Thomas F. 1957. The effects of lime application to acid bog lakes in northern Michigan. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society Volume 86, pages 329-344.

Waters, Thomas F., and Robert C. Ball. 1957. Lime application to a softwater, unproductive lake in northern Michigan. Journal of Wildlife Management Volume 21, pages 385-391.

Waters, Thomas F. 1960. The development of population estimate procedures in small trout lakes. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society Volume 89, pages 287-294.

Waters, Thomas F. 1961a. Notes on the chlorophyll method of estimating the photosynthetic capacity of stream periphyton. Limnology and Oceanography Volume 6, pages 486-488.

Waters, Thomas F. 1961b. Standing crop and drift of stream bottom organisms. Ecology Volume 42, pages 532-537.

Waters, Thomas F., and Robert J. Knapp. 1961c. An improved stream bottom fauna sampler. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society Volume 90, pages 225-226.

Waters, Thomas F. 1962a. Diurnal periodicity in the drift of stream invertebrates. Ecology. Volume 43, pages 316-320.

Waters, Thomas F. 1962b. A method to estimate the production rate of a stream bottom invertebrate. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society. Volume 91, pages 243-250.

Waters, Thomas F. 1964. Recolonization of denuded stream bottom areas by drift. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society Volume 93, pages 311-315.

Waters, Thomas F. 1965. Interpretation of invertebrate drift in streams. Ecology Volume 46, pages 327-334.

Waters, Thomas F. 1966. Production rate, population density, and drift of a stream invertebrate. Ecology Volume 47, pages 595-604.

Holt, Charles S., and Thomas F. Waters. 1967. Effect of light intensity on the drift of stream invertebrate. Ecology Volume 48, pages 225-234.

Waters, Thomas F. 1968. Diurnal periodicity in the drift of a day-active stream invertebrate. Ecology Volume 49, pages 152-153.

Waters, Thomas F. 1969a. Diel patterns of aquatic invertebrate drift in streams of northern Utah. Utah Academy of Science Proceedings Volume 46 (Part 2), pages 109-130.

Waters, Thomas F. 1969b. Invertebrate drift—ecology and significance to stream fishes. In: Thomas G. Northcote (editor). Symposium on Salmon and Trout in Streams, pages 121-134. H. R. MacMillan Lectures in Fisheries, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia.

Waters, Thomas F. 1969c. Subsampler for dividing large samples of stream invertebrate drift. Limnology and Oceanography Volume 14, pages 813-815.

Waters, Thomas F. 1969d. The turnover ratio in production ecology of freshwater invertebrates. American Naturalist Volume 103, pages 173-185.

Elwood, Jerry W., and Thomas F. Waters. 1969. Effects of floods on food consumption and production rates of a stream brook trout population. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society Volume 98, pages 253-262.

Wojtalik, Thomas A., and Thomas F. Waters. 1970. Some effects of heated water on the drift of two species of stream invertebrates. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society Volume 93, pages 782-788.

Waters, Thomas F. 1972. The drift of stream insects. Annual Review of Entomology Volume 17, pages 253-272.

Waters, Thomas F., and Gary W. Crawford. 1973. The annual production of a stream mayfly population: a comparison of methods. Limnology and Oceanography Volume 18, pages 286-296.

Hanson, David L., and Thomas F. Waters. 1974. Recovery of standing crop and production rate of a brook trout population in a flood-damaged stream. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society Volume 103, pages 431-439.

Petrosky, Charles E., and Thomas F. Waters. 1975. Annual production by the slimy sculpin population in a small Minnesota trout stream. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society Volume 104, pages 237-244.

Waters, Thomas F. 1977. Secondary production in inland waters. Advances in Ecological Research Volume 10, pages 91-164.

Waters, Thomas F. 1978a. Bioenergetic simulation modeling: secondary production. In: William T. Mason (editor), Methods for the assessment and prediction of mineral mining impacts on aquatic communities. Report, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, pages 155-157.

Waters, Thomas F. 1978b. Environmental implications in redevelopment of old hydroelectric dams. In: Michigan State University and others (editors). Proceedings on small low-head hydroelectric power. Pages 391-398.

Waters, Thomas F. 1979a. Benthic life histories—summary and future needs. Journal of the Fisheries Research Board of Canada Volume 36, pages 342-345.

Waters, Thomas F. 1979b. Influence of benthos life history upon the estimation of secondary production. Journal of the Fisheries Research Board of Canada Volume 36, pages 1425-1430.

Hall, Ronald J., Thomas F. Waters, and Edwin F. Cook. 1980. The role of drift dispersal in production ecology of a stream mayfly. Ecology Volume 61, pages 37-43

Marsh, Paul C., and Thomas F. Waters. 1980. The effects of agricultural drainage development on benthic invertebrates in undisturbed downstream reaches. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society Volume 109, pages 213-223.

Waters, Thomas F., and Jay C. Hokenstrom. 1980. Annual production and drift of the stream amphipod Gammarus pseudolimnaeus in Valley Creek, Minnesota. Limnology and Oceanography Volume 25, pages 700-710.

Waters, Thomas F. 1981a. Drift of stream invertebrates below a cave source. Hydrobiologia Volume 78, pages 169-175.

Waters, Thomas F. 1981b. Seasonal patterns in production and drift of Gammarus pseudolimnaeus in Valley Creek, Minnesota. Ecology. Volume 62, pages 1458-1466.

Waters, Thomas F. 1982. Annual production by a stream brook charr population and by its principal invertebrate food. Environmental Biology of Fishes. Volume 7, pages 165-170.

MacFarlane, Malcolm B., and Thomas F. Waters. 1982. Annual production by caddisflies and mayflies in a western Minnesota plains stream. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. Volume 39, pages 1628-1635.

Waters, Thomas F. 1983. Replacement of brook trout by brown trout over 15 years in a Minnesota stream.

Transactions of the American Fisheries Society Volume 112, pages 137-146.

Krueger, Charles C., and Thomas F Waters. 1983. Annual production of macroinvertebrates in three streams of different water quality. Ecology Volume 64, pages 840-850.

Garman, Greg C., and Thomas F. Waters. 1983. Use of the size-frequency (Hynes) method to estimate annual production of a stream fish population. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences Volume 40, pages 2030-2034.

Newman, Raymond M., and Thomas F. Waters. 1984. Size-selective predation on Gammarus pseudolimnaeus by trout and sculpins in Valley Creek, Minnesota. Ecology Volume 65, pages 1535-1545.

Waters, Thomas F. 1984. Annual production by Gammarus pseudolimnaeus among substrate types in Valley Creek, Minnesota. American Midland Naturalist Volume 112, pages 95-102.

Waters, Thomas F. 1986. The benthos of three Minnesota streams tributary to Lake Superior and its relationship to acid precipitation. University of Minnesota, Agricultural Experiment Station, Miscellaneous Publication, Number 40, 19 pages.

Mackay, Rosemary J., and Thomas F. Waters. 1986. Effects of small impoundments on hydropsychid caddisfly production in Valley Creek, Minnesota. Ecology Volume 67, pages 1680-1686.

Waters, Thomas F. 1987. The effect of growth and survival patterns upon the cohort P/B ratio. Journal of the North American Benthological Society. Volume 6, pages 223-229.

Waters, Thomas F. 1988. Fish production-benthos production relationships in trout streams. Polish Archives of Hydrobiology. Volume 35, pages 545-561.

Newman, Raymond M., and Thomas F. Waters. 1989. Differences in brown trout (Salmo trutta) production among continuous sections of an entire stream. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences Volume 46, pages 203-213.

Waters, Thomas F., Michael T. Doherty, and Charles C. Krueger. 1990. Annual production and production:biomass ratios for three species of stream trout in Lake Superior tributaries. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society. Volume 119, pages 470-474.

Waters, Thomas F. 1992. Annual production, production/biomass ratio, and the ecotrophic coefficient for management of trout in streams. North American Journal of Fisheries Management. Volume 12, pages 34-39.

Waters, Thomas F. 1993. Dynamics in stream ecology. In: Gibson, R. J., and R. E. Cutting (editors), International symposium on the production of juvenile Atlantic salmon in natural waters. Canadian Special Publication of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. Number 118, pages 1-8.

Waters, Thomas F., John P. Kaehler, Taylor J. Polomis, and Thomas J. Kwak. 1993. Production dynamics of smallmouth bass in a small Minnesota stream. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society. Volume 122, pages 588-598.

Kwak, Thomas F., and Thomas F. Waters. 1997. Trout production dynamics and water quality in Minnesota streams. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society. Volume 126, pages 35-48.

Waters, Thomas F. 1999. Long-term trout production dynamics in Valley Creek, Minnesota. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society. Volume 128, pages 1151-1162.



1964. Fish and fishing in Minnesota’s waters. (With Lloyd L. Smith, Jr.) Minnesota Farm & Home Science. Spring 1964. Volume 21, number 3, pages 26-27.

1969. Production ecology in trout streams. Minnesota Science. Volume 25, number 2, pages 21-24.

1978. The river as a historical resource. Currents. Number 1, pages 7-12. (Publication of the Minnesota Valley Restoration Project, edited by Rosemary MacFarlane.)

1979. Politics threatens state’s scenic rivers. Opinion page, The Minneapolis Star, April 12, 1979, pages 8A, 9A.

1982. Special regulations in trout stream management: Some objectives and principles. Trout. Autumn 1982, pages 34-37. (Publication of Trout Unlimited.)

1982. The Valley Creek rainbow. Minnesota Council News (Trout Unlimited). Winter 1982-1983, page 4.

1987. The productivity of Minnesota’s trout streams. Minnesota Out-of-Doors. April 1987, pages 15-17.

1989. The Miracle of Rivers. Midwest Fly Fishing. Volume 1, issue 2, pages 8-9.

1989. Serendipity on a trout stream. Minnesota Out-of-Doors. February 1989, pages 14-15.

1992. Replacement of brook trout by brown trout over 15 years in a Minnesota stream: production and abundance. A Magazine for Fly Fishermen. Early Summer Issue 1992, pages 44-53. In Japanese. (Copy of paper of same title in Transactions of the American Fisheries Society, Volume 112, pages 137-146)  

1993. Three streams at the start. Nineteenth Avenue (University of Minnesota). Volume 2, number 6, page 8.

1994. Productivity of streams––can we increase it? The FFF Quill. A Federation of Fly Fishers Quarterly Journal. Spring 1994, pages 14-15.

1997. The ecology of a trout stream. Trout Unlimited Minnesota. Volume 4, number 3, pages 6, 11.

2000. Rivers in darkness. Midwest Fly Fishing. April 2000, page 26.


Dr. Thomas Waters’ book, Wildstream: A Natural History of the Free Flowing River, is available.  His book is favorably reviewed in the July-August 2000 issue of Minnesota Conservation Volunteer, by Greg Breining who is author of Paddling Minnesota.  Dr. Waters’ book can be ordered by calling (877) 953-7487 ($22 in softcover).  Dr. Waters was also the author of Streams and Rivers of Minnesota and The Superior North Shore.


Breining writes: “It’s a definitive work, geared toward the layperson with an abiding interest in moving water … He discusses the mechanics of rivers, their chemistry and food chains, their varied and mysterious sources of nutrients, and their fish life.  Despite the sometimes technical nature of the materials, Waters writes with the impeccable clarity that characterized his (other) books.”


NAVY MAN 1945 (Tom on right)