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UM Professor Jack Stanford Wins Two Prestigious Awards

University of Montana Professor Jack Stanford recently received two prestigious awards for his work in the field of river ecology: one recognizing lifetime achievement and the other for exceptional conservation.

The International Society for River Science recognized Stanford’s 40 years of research and contributions to river ecology by awarding him its Lifetime Achievement Award this past July. 

Noted river scientist Professor Geoff Petts, vice chancellor of Westminster University in London, presented the award at the Second Biennial ISRS Symposium in Berlin.

During the award presentation, Petts summarized Stanford’s career achievements, commenting specifically on 13 major papers Stanford published in the society’s journal, River Research and Applications. One of those papers, “A General Protocol for Restoration of Regulated Rivers,” is the most cited paper ever published in the journal. 

Petts also acknowledged Stanford’s achievements in producing the data and interpretations that formally link rivers and groundwater in a landscape context, and recognized him for providing the rationale for worldwide freshwater conservation by writing or co-writing more than 180 scientific papers and books.

“Stanford’s science has informed policy from local issues at Flathead Lake to global issues relating to climate change,” Petts said. 

Stanford accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award, saying his achievements were, in large measure, made possible by the many competent and dedicated students and colleagues who have served with him at the biological station over the years.

Stanford received the second award in West Yellowstone this past August. The 20,000-member Federation of Fly Fishers presented Stanford the Aldo Leopold Conservation Award for his scholarship in ecosystem science.

Richard Williams, national conservation adviser for the Federation of Fly Fishers, presented the award, noting the importance of Stanford’s research on the Flathead River-Lake ecosystem in Montana. He recognized Stanford for his systems ecology approach to implementing conservation of river flows regulated by dams, and lauded Stanford for fostering an understanding of worldwide wild salmon ecosystems through his unparalleled research.

Stanford has spent his entire career working at UM’s Flathead Lake Biological Station, where he directed the development of the ecological research program, which has achieved worldwide prominence. He has mentored 44 graduate students and 12 postdoctoral scholars who have contributed to the protection of clean water. 

For more information about Stanford and the biological station, go to