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History Timeline


The NWRC Archive also presents rotating history features on personnel, field stations, and international programs. 

Trapping Oral History Initiative

Previous Directors (Denver Wildlife Research Center or National Wildlife Research Center)

Historical Publications (Documents are available through the NWRC Archives. Please e-mail Jennifer.M.Edwards or telephone 970-266-6023

Dr. C. Hart Merriam establishes the Division of Economic Ornithology and Mammalogy in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and with Dr. A.K. Fisher, pioneers research on methods for controlling damage to agriculture by wildlife.


At the USDA Control Methods Research Laboratory in Albuquerque, NM, S.E. Piper conducts field and laboratory experiments on various methods for controlling rodent damage to agriculture.


Headquarters for the Control Methods Research Laboratory moves from Albuquerque, NM, to Denver, CO. Investigations of the food habits of wildlife and the diseases, particularly avian botulism, that affect wildlife are initiated.

The USDA Food Habits Laboratory is established in Denver, CO, to study the food habits and economic impact of predators, other mammals, and birds in the Western United States.

USDA's Bureau of Biological Survey and Bureau of Fisheries merge to form Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) within United States Department of the Interior (USDI). Control Methods Research and Food Habits Laboratories combined to form Denver Wildlife Research Laboratory under the new FWS.

Congress authorizes reorganization of FWS into Bureau of Commercial Fisheries and Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife. As a result, Denver Wildlife Research Laboratory expands focus to include study of relationships between wildlife populations and their habitats on public lands and effects of grazing, timber management, and other land uses.

Denver Wildlife Research Laboratory renamed Denver Wildlife Research Center (DWRC). Congress charges DWRC with added responsibilities, including establishing Pesticide-Wildlife Ecology Program to study effects of pesticides on wildlife.

DWRC takes the lead in a long-term international research program in cooperation with the United States Department of State's Agency for International Development aimed at discovering, developing, and applying new and better methods to protect world food crops from ravages of "rats, bats, and noxious birds."

DWRC expands research program to include new investigations on wildlife ecology on public lands and wildlife damage.


The United States Environmental Protection Agency's registrations for several important chemical tools for managing wildlife damage are canceled, resulting in renewed efforts at DWRC to develop new, more effective chemical methods for wildlife damage management.


DWRC assumes nationwide leadership for all wildlife damage management research within the FWS.

DWRC merges with the FWS's National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory, expanding DWRC's research to include a broad array of vertebrate systematic investigations, ecologic and zoogeographic studies, and marine mammal research.

Congress transfers USDI's Animal Damage Control Program, including part of DWRC and some of its field stations, from the FWS to the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).

Colorado State University and APHIS sign a memorandum of understanding to develop a research facility on the CSU Foothills Research Campus in Fort Collins, CO. Due to the national and international scope of research conducted in this facility, a more fitting name is chosen--National Wildlife Research Center (NWRC).

Ground is broken for NWRC's Animal Research Building--an indoor animal research laboratory facility. Construction is completed in 1995.

Ground is broken for NWRC's Wildlife Science Building. It is headquarters for Fort Collins- and field station-based personnel. Construction is completed in 1998, and the building occupied in January 1999.

NWRC scientists and staff conduct research into problems caused by the interaction of wildlife and society with the goal of providing effective, economical, and environmentally safe solutions to reduce damage and minimize conflicts between wildlife and you.