Our People

Joshua Royte

Senior Conservation Scientist, Maine


Joshua Royte headshot.

Joshua Royte: Joshua is a Senior Conservation Scientist for The Nature Conservancy in Maine. © Phoebe Parker

Areas of Expertise

Conservation planning; landscape, forest and river ecology; river restoration planning


Joshua Royte

Media Contact

Jeremy Cluchey
ph. 207-607-4843


Joshua Royte is a landscape ecologist bringing the science of large forested landscapes and river networks to planning our strategies, monitoring impacts and identifying priorities for conservation and restoration. His work includes facilitating a diversity of partnerships involved with planning and implementing conservation actions at scales ranging from broad ecoregions to specific sites.

Joshua has led the work to restore Maine river connectivity, opening some of the region's best habitat to native fish and other wildlife. His expertise also helps guide and promote river restoration globally as an advisor to TNC Europe’s Freshwater program and the European Union AMBER and MERLIN projects.

He co-authored the book From Sea to Source 2.0, describing why fish migrate, the impact of stream barriers, examples and techniques on how to fix them and how to build greater awareness in society.

A large portion of Joshua’s time is dedicated to helping TNC’s Europe Program to develop their efforts to protect and restore rivers, with an emphasis on the western Balkans in southeast Europe.

“What we’ve developed in Maine around such amazing natural resources has relevance all around the planet. To ensure healthy ecosystems persist through all the current and future planetary changes, we need to be smarter about how we treat the planet and where to focus limited resources to the best effect.”

Joshua has been focused on a healthier natural environment for the past three decades. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Bard College and a master's from Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Joshua previously directed the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Fox Island Environmental Education Center, was a planner for the National Capital Parks and Planning Commission and conducted resource inventories for Woodlot Alternatives, Inc.

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April 25, 2022

Join a Global Celebration of Healthy Rivers this May!

Have you heard about World Fish Migration Day? It happens every two years, and it’s a chance to celebrate migratory fish—and the connected, healthy rivers they depend on. Migratory fish make up a crucial link in the food chain, and they help keep our rivers healthy and productive. Free-flowing rivers and their fish also sustain the people, economies, and cultures of communities around the world. More than 100 million people get their primary source of protein from freshwater fisheries.

An aerial view of people forming a fish-shaped line.

Today, most migratory fish species are severely threatened. Man-made obstacles like dams, weirs, sluices and culverts are some of the primary threats. Barriers disrupt the natural timing and flow of rivers and prevent or delay fish from reaching critical spawning habitat, accessing food sources, avoiding floods or droughts and finding cool waters during increasingly frequent warming events. In 2020, the Living Planet Index Report showed that globally there has been a 75 percent decline in migratory fish populations just since the 1970s. Developed places like Europe have experienced more than a 90 percent decline.

A decade ago, I met Herman Wanningen, a scientist in the Netherlands who was looking to connect scientists and practitioners working to improve the world’s free-flowing rivers. He had an idea for a global day of action that celebrates river restoration. He called it “World Fish Migration Day,” and he imagined it as an opportunity to highlight rivers, fish and the communities that depend on them on a grand scale, but through local perspectives. We started talking, and The Nature Conservancy agreed to provide some seed funding to launch this effort.

Since those humble beginnings, World Fish Migration Day has grown leaps and bounds, becoming a beloved biennial event featuring local river restoration celebrations around the world. The first World Fish Migration Day in 2014 involved 273 events in 53 countries. By 2018, there were 570 events in 63 countries engaging over 200,000 people!

This year, World Fish Migration Day will take place on Saturday, May 21. There are tons of great opportunities to get involved, including:

  • A celebratory TNC web event on May 9 titled "TNC Celebrates World Fish Migration Day," featuring inspiring fish stories from around the world as well as the premier of an exciting original short film, "When Rivers Return."
  • A fun family-friendly event on May 21 at Bicentennial Park in Augusta with tons of activities for kids, including making sea-run fish kites to fly at the park, a coloring contest of Maine native fish, taking photos with the world-famous Happy Fish and much more.
  • A TNC program in northern Mongolia on their work with local government and communities to safeguard rivers for the largest of the world's salmon, the taimen.
  • The Sindh Rendezvous in the Kashmir region of India to educate graduate students on the impacts of dams on rivers and fish.
  • The premier of a new film called “Dam Busters” on May 21 during the International Dam Removal Conference in Portugal, co-sponsored by TNC Europe.
  • A family ShadFest event on the Brandywine River with TNC’s Pennsylvania and Delaware chapters on May 22.

By building our shared appreciation and understanding of the importance of migratory fish to our ecosystems, our economies and our communities, we can create momentum to restore and protect our vital waterways, here in Maine and around the world. Together, we can influence decision makers, leaders, and communities to create healthier rivers full of fish. Here's to a happy World Fish Migration Day!

Twardek, W.M., Wanningen, H., Fernández Garrido, P., Brink, K., Royte, J., Berkhuysen, A., Geenen, B., and Cooke, S.J. In press, 2020. World Fish Migration Day connects fish, rivers, and people – from a one day event to a broader social movement. Fisheries Magazine 00: 000-000

Brink, K. P. Gough, J. Royte, P. P. Schollema and H. Wanningen 2018. From Sea to Source 2.0. Protection and restoration of fish migration in rivers worldwide. World Fish Migration Foundation.

Opperman, J. J., J. Royte, J. Banks, L. Rose Day and C. Apse. 2011. The Penobscot River, Maine, USA: a Basin-Scale Approach to Balancing Power Generation and Ecosystem Restoration. Ecology and Society 16 (3): 7. [online]

Cogbill, C. and J. L. Royte 2001.  Determining Spatial Landscape Patterns and Disturbance Regimes from Historical Records, The Nature Conservancy’s Upper St. John River Lands, Northwest Maine, USA.  Proceedings of the Forest Ecology Information Exchange: Forestry Stucture, a Multi-layer Conversation. October 25, 2001. Orono, Maine.

Royte, J.L. and J.P. Lortie.  2000. New occurrences of Scirpus ancistrochaetus in New Hampshire. Rhodora, v.102 (910): 210-213.

Royte, J. L., D. D. Sperduto, and J. P. Lortie. 1996. Botanical reconnaissance of Nancy Brook Research Natural Area. Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-216. Radnor, PA: U. S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station. 23 p. 4Mb

Hill, J. M., J. L. Royte, and J. M. Swearingen. 1990. A Permanent plot system for natural resources management decisions in a rapidly urbanizing county. State-of-the-Art Methodology of Forest Inventory. USDA Forest Service, General Technical Report PNW-GTR-263.

Berlyn, G. P., J. L. Royte and A. O. Anoruo. 1990. Cytophotometric separation of high elevation spruces: Physiological and ecological implications. Stain Technology Vol.65(1-13).

Berlyn, G. P., J. L. Royte and A. O. Anoruo. 1989. Genetic characterization of high elevation spruce of the northeastern United States. In Adams, M.B. and C. Eager (eds.) Air and Winter Injury of Red Spruce.

Royte, J. R., L. Brako, and R. C. Harris  1985. Two crustose lichen new to North America. Evansia. Vol.2 (1).