Tony Grover, 66, retired from the Northwest Power and Conservation Council Aug. 19, ending a 17-year career with the Council.

He was the longest serving fish and wildlife division director, a position he held for 12 years.

Patty O’Toole, the Council’s manager of program performance and development, was appointed acting director.

During his time at the NWPCC, Grover oversaw three revisions of the Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program, which mitigates the impacts of the Columbia Basin hydroelectric projects and must be revised every five years. The Council is currently accepting public comments on an addendum to the 2014 Program.

“Tony’s encyclopedic knowledge of the basin’s fish and wildlife resources, coupled with his strong relationship with the region’s federal, state, and tribal fish and wildlife managers, will be difficult to replicate,” Council Executive Director Steve Crow said in a Council news release.

In an interview with NW Fishletter, Grover said he always tried to live by a principle of “unconditional constructiveness—finding a way to build things up instead of tearing things down.”

He said he often found it difficult to describe his job at social gatherings, and discovered that people tend to “click off” when the subject doesn’t directly affect their lives. “I wish there was some short, effective way to convince people that as the environment and the wild species go, so go the humans,” he said. “We are inextricably linked with the natural ecosystem, even though in our modern built-up world, we think we’re insulated.”

Grover captured the Pacific Northwest’s natural world in thousands of photographs, and his work graces the pages of dozens of reports and documents issued by the Council and its independent scientists.

In an email to those he worked with, Grover wrote that he intends to catch up on delayed projects around his home and do some traveling “with an idea of capturing photos of those rare and elusive scenes and subjects that many of us have come to think of as icons that define our western experience.”

He also said he intends to remain active in the fish and wildlife work.

“While I have left the Council, I don’t intend to abandon the important issues that remain to be understood and then solved,” he wrote.

K.C. Mehaffey covers fish issues for Clearing Up, and is editor of the NW Fishletter. She joined the NewsData writing team in February 2018. From lawsuits to scientific studies, she is enjoying the deep dive into the Columbia Basin's many fish topics.