Zachary Penney

Program: John D. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship (2014)


Zach served his Knauss fellowship with Representative Jared Huffman (CA-2) and his staff, working on natural resource and tribal issues related to fisheries, forestry, public lands, marine policy, and water rights. A Nez Perce tribal member, in 2105 he was selected to lead the Fishery Science Department of the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission.


In 2013, Zach completed his Ph.D. in Natural Resources with an emphasis in fisheries at the University of Idaho. Zach also has a bachelor’s degree in Aquatic Resources from Sheldon Jackson College in Sitka, Alaska, and a Masters of Science in Earth and Ocean Science from the University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

Professional and Research Interests: 

Zach has spent his life fishing, studying, and working with anadromous salmonids in the Pacific Northwest. Early in his college career, Zach's goal was to become a fish culturist and become a hatchery manager to help restore threatened and endangered populations of salmon. To date, Zach has raised pink, chum, Chinook, and coho salmon, as well as steelhead trout. However, Zach's goals changed when he landed a job working for the Sitka Tribe of Alaska on sockeye stock assessments. While completing his Bachelors degree Zach spent his summers in remote sites on the islands of Southeast Alaska with sockeye and brown bears, which gave him a love for fisheries research. Zach's work with Sitka Tribe of Alaska eventually lead to an opportunity to pursue a Master's degree. Zach's Masters research involved the use of trace element otolith (ear bone) chemistry for stock identification and life history reconstruction in the same sockeye salmon populations he worked with during his undergraduate studies.  

Following his Masters, Zach served as the Project leader for the Nez Perce Tribes coho salmon restoration project, which used hatchery production as a tool to re-establish coho salmon back in the Snake River subbasin. In 2009 Zach was given the opportunity to pursue a Ph.D. at the University of Idaho studying steelhead trout. For his doctoral work, Zach studied the physiological and energetic constraints on repeat-spawning in steelhead trout returning to the Columbia and Snake River.