Skip to main content

Iowa Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit records

 Record Group
Identifier: RS 9/10/4

  • Staff Only

Scope and Content

The collection (1930-2010) contains administrative records as well as records related to the research activities of the Iowa Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit. The records include biographical information, grant proposals, meeting minutes, projects, publications, reports, research materials, studies, and workshops that have been sponsored by the Iowa Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit. The collection also contains a set of lantern slides which are housed in the vault.


  • 1930-2010

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

Open for research.

Use/Re-use Restrictions

Consult Special Collections and University Archives


The nation’s first Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit was established at Iowa State College (University) due primarily to the efforts of J. N. "Ding" Darling, acclaimed political cartoonist for The Des Moines Register. In January 1932, Darling proposed to Raymond Hughes, President (1927-1936) of Iowa State, that the institution should join with the Iowa Fish and Game Commission (Iowa Department of Natural Resources) in establishing a cooperative wildlife research program. The three-year agreement created a program that was funded by the State of Iowa, Iowa State College, and private contributions from Darling. Dr. Paul L. Errington, who had studied under Professor Aldo Leopold at the University of Wisconsin, joined the staff at Iowa State College (University) as Leader of the Iowa Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit on July 1, 1932. A similar unit to study the state’s fish populations was established in 1941.

In 1934 Darling was appointed Chief of the U. S. Bureau of Biological Survey (now the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service). Darling convinced the American Game Association (now the Wildlife Management Institute) to help fund a federal program of cooperative wildlife research units. In 1935 the Iowa unit and similar units at eight other land grant institutions were organized with financial support from the federal government and cooperating state and private organizations.

Congress officially recognized the Cooperative Research Unit program by passing Public Law 86-686 in 1960. The same year, the federal government established a national program of cooperative fishery units similar to the wildlife units under the administration of the former Division of Fishery Services. The fishery and wildlife units were combined under a single Research Division in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1973. The units are now administered by the Biological Resources Discipline of the U.S. Geological Survey.

The Iowa Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit supports research and educational programs related to natural resource conservation and management. Members of the Unit supervise graduate student research and education and also provide public support and education through lectures, workshops, conferences, and publications. Unit scientists are members of the Graduate Faculty of Iowa State University and teach courses in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Interdepartmental Graduate Program. The Unit is administratively associated with Iowa State University’s Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management and the College of Agriculture.


17.0 Linear Feet (4 records center cartons, 24 document boxes, 1 half-document box, 1 card file box, 2 lantern slide boxes, and 1 map case folder)


The collection is organized into four series:

Series 1, Administrative Records, 1935-2010 (chronological)

Series 2, Research Records, 1930-2007 (alphabetical)

Series 3, Publications, 1931-2007, undated (alphabetical)

Series 4, Lantern Slides, 1949-1950, undated (alphabetical)

Items in related collections

RS 9/10. Iowa State University. Department of Animal Ecology records, 1974-1989

Processing Information

Released on 2018-07-30.

RS 9/10/4. Iowa Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit records, 1930-2010
April 22, 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives Repository

403 Parks Library
701 Morrill Road
Iowa State University
Ames Iowa 50011-2102 United States
(515) 294-6672