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Meet Katrina Poremba, Fish Biologist for Water Operations and Delta Consultations

March 03, 2022

Katrina works on Endangered Species Act Section 7 consultations for Sacramento Valley's waterways. Consultations are the way we make sure federal projects do not jeopardize salmon and steelhead populations.

Woman conducting water monitoring samples, turbidity, depth, and temperature  on multiple creeks that flow into the Columbia River Conducting water monitoring samples, turbidity, depth, and temperature on multiple creeks that flow into the Columbia River, for the Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership. Credit: Katrina Poremba/NOAA Fisheries

Where did you grow up? 

On a hobby farm in Boise, Idaho.

What is your educational background?

I received a Bachelors in Marine Biology, a Bachelors in Zoology, a Minor in Leadership Diving, and a Minor in Scientific Diving from Humboldt State University. I received my NOAA Corps Officer Commission from the Coast Guard Academy. I received my Masters in Conservation Biology from Nebraska State University.

Are you a member of a community or religious organization or volunteer/mentorship program? 

I enjoy volunteering at local animal rescues and I am currently a part of the Chintimini Wildlife Rescue Center. 

Is there a book, quote, or person that influenced you to be the person that you are today?

Henry David Thoreau's view on preserving nature has influenced me as a steward for conservation in my personal life and career goals.

What advice would you have for today’s youth interested in a federal government career?

Volunteer and listen to others so that you can be a servant to your community. This practice will help you be an efficient civil servant in the future.

What are some of your hobbies?

I enjoy free diving, scuba diving, paddle boarding, hiking, camping, and photography. 

Woman standing on cliff while hiking on Isla de la Plata in Ecuador
Hiking on Isla de la Plata in Ecuador and checking out Blue Footed Boobies. Credit: Katrina Poremba/NOAA Fisheries

Can you describe a typical day at work?

A typical day at work consists of meeting with partners regarding Sacramento Valley water operations to discuss what is best for the endangered species in the Sacramento River, and other rivers associated with it. As a fish biologist, I stay up to date on the best science available for supporting fish populations in the Sacramento Valley. We make sure they are getting enough cold water to survive. By discussing these issues with partners, who are also looking at other supporting materials for the fish populations, or those who support local farmers in the area, we can come up with well-rounded decisions for how to manage the waterways of the Sacramento Valley for everyone who relies on it. 

What are you working on now?

Currently there is a drought in the Sacramento Valley, which puts many populations of fish in danger due to high temperatures in the waterways. I am currently assisting other consultants in configuring ways to manage the water reserves of the Sacramento Valley in order to save these fish populations that are in danger of the drought. 

Can you describe a project you worked on that was particularly interesting or enjoyable?

When I was a NOAA Corps Officer, I was the dive master and lead diver for a sunken ship wreck operation in a remote area of Alaska. I was working on a hydrographic survey vessel. To map the ocean floor of this particular bay, we had to collect information of this discovered shipwreck. It was very exciting to be one of the first to dive on this wreck, for work purposes.

Katrina Poremba in the water after a dive in Alaska
Katrina signaling to the dive boat crew that she and her team are okay and beginning their descent on to the shipwreck for further surveying in a remote bay in Alaska. Photo courtesy of Katrina Poemba.