For Immediate Release – March 6, 2023
Portland, Oregon – Donella Miller, a member of the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, was selected to lead the Fishery Science Department of the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (CRITFC). She is also a descendent of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation and the Blackfeet Nation. Ms. Miller began on March 1, 2023.
Aja DeCoteau, CRITFC’s Executive Director warmly remarked, “CRITFC is thrilled to have Donella Miller as a member of our management team. Her experience and passion for fisheries will be a great asset in our mission to restore healthy salmon ecosystems.”
Ms. Miller will manage CRITFC’s largest department, consisting of 35 scientists and support staff located in three locations: Portland headquarters; the Hagerman Genetics Lab in Hagerman, Idaho; and a research cooperative with the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho.
The department Ms. Miller will lead is tasked with increasing the scientific knowledge about Columbia Basin fish and the habitats upon which those fish rely. Her team will continue to provide valuable research that informs tribal, state, and federal management agencies while increasing the visibility of tribal scientific accomplishments.
“I am excited to be a part of such an amazing team and to help build upon the great foundation which they’ve built,” said Miller. “My goal is to continue to work toward comprehensive solutions for fisheries recovery throughout the Columbia River Basin.”
Ms. Miller is well prepared for her new position. She started working for Yakama Fisheries when she turned 18 years old and brings over 29 years of Columbia River fisheries work experience. Her most recent role was serving as the Yakama Nation Fisheries Program Manager. She is recognized for her significant contributions to sturgeon protection and conservation including many years working with white sturgeon production.
Her educational background includes a Bachelor of Science in Fisheries Resources from the University of Idaho, but her knowledge and love of the salmon was instilled long before she ever attended college. Donella’s life has been dedicated to taking care of the traditional foods and cultural resources passed down through teachings from her elders.
Donella succeeds Nez Perce tribal member Dr. Zach Penney, who was selected by the Biden Administration to be a NOAA Senior Advisor, with a focus on fisheries and tribal engagement.