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Kathy Fagerstone Records --

Identifier: NWRC 0035

Scope and Contents

Materials in this collection were compiled by Kathy Fagerstone and dated 1968-2013 with the bulk falling between 1980-2000. This collection consists of 35 boxes divided into seven series and is a total of 36 linear feet. Included are administrative reports, correspondence, and meeting records. Images, reports, and research data from Fagerstone’s work with small mammals such as prairie dogs and ferrets, as well as her PhD research on ground squirrels are included. Records from Fagerstone’s time serving as the Program Manager for the Product Development and Registration Unit make up a large part of this collection and focus on chemical registrations for zinc phosphide, strychnine, other chemical toxicants and repellents, as well as her communications with consortium/stakeholder groups. Records pertaining to the control of the Brown Tree Snake in Guam and several wildlife contraceptive projects are also included. As are many of Fagerstone’s presentations and slide shows.


  • 1968 - 2013
  • Majority of material found within 1980 - 2000


Biographical / Historical

Kathy Fagerstone dedicated her entire professional career to vertebrate pest management and the National Wildlife Research Center (NWRC). She began working with the Denver Wildlife Research Center (predecessor to the NWRC) in 1971, becoming the first female physical science technician at the Center. During her 40 year career with the Center, Kathy advanced from technician, to wildlife biologist, to research scientist, to project leader, and finally to program manager before her retirement in 2013. Throughout her career, Kathy made a number of significant contributions in the areas of research, product development, and registration of wildlife management products.

Kathleen Ann Fagerstone was born on March 16, 1951 in Denver, Colorado. She grew up in a scientific family who were especially active in the mountains of Colorado. Her father was a geologist with the U.S. Geologic Survey and mapped large sections of southern and central Colorado. While growing up, Kathy and her siblings worked as his field assistants during the summers, which introduced Kathy to field work at an early age. According to Kathy, the time she spent outdoors with her family growing up in Colorado led to her interest in wildlife and biology.

Kathy began her career at the Center in 1971 as a part-time technician. She first worked with George Matschke screening rodenticides while studying zoology and animal biology at Colorado State University. After earning a B.S. in Zoology/Animal Biology from CSU in 1973, Kathy worked full-time with Howard Tietjen and Jim Glahn on a prairie-dog project in South Dakota that included studies on food-habits, population dynamics, livestock-prairie dog interactions, and the effects of prairie dogs on the environment. Her group also studied control methods for prairie dogs using zinc phosphide, a compound she would later help to reregister. Kathy utilized her research on prairie dogs to earn a M.A. from the University of Colorado in 1979.

After earning her M.A., Kathy advanced to a biologist position with a focus on rodenticides. In 1980 she began working with Paul Hegdal on a series of non-target hazard studies, specifically looking at compound 1080 to control California ground squirrels on range land. The 1080 studies were followed by studies on zinc phosphide and its use in orchards to control voles. That study was followed by another on the use of strychnine to control ground squirrels in Wyoming. Kathy again utilized her research at the Center academically, this time to earn a Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of Colorado in 1982.

During the early 1980s, Kathy worked with Dean Biggins and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) Endangered Species office on a black-footed ferret project. The project began after the thought-to-be-extinct animal was discovered in Meeteetse, Wyoming, in 1981. As a research scientist, Kathy used radio telemetry to carry out home range, census, and mortality studies and to collect information on the black-footed ferret that no one ever had before. Kathy also began studies on the white-tailed prairie dogs living near the black-footed ferrets. In 1985, the Center was transferred from the Department of the Interior to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, however, the endangered species program stayed with the USFWS, which ended Kathy’s involvement in the ferret project.

Kathy remained with the Center after its switch from the Department of the Interior to the USDA. In 1986-1987, she became the project leader for a program to develop an urban wildlife management program, similar to the Center’s programs in rural farming/ranching areas. With the help of John Beck, Kathy traveled around the U.S. visiting cities such as Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles to build partnerships with city managers in an effort to resolve urban wildlife damage management issues. Although the urban wildlife management program focused on species such as coyotes, raccoons and skunks, the issue of competition with private rodent control industries led to the program being scrapped in 1987.

The focus of Kathy’s work shifted to chemical registrations after Congress amended the pesticide registration provisions of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) in 1988. The Act required the EPA to conduct further studies on the safety and effectiveness of pesticides. Consequently, many of the compounds that had been registered by the USFWS (prior to the Center’s move to the USDA) for use as rodenticides, avicides, and repellents had to be re-registered under FIFRA. As the Chief of the Section of Chemical Development and Pesticide Registration for the Center, Kathy took on the task of acquiring necessary funding to get those compounds re-registered. To do this, she formed consortiums of registrants who either had the technical registrations or the end-use products. By bringing these groups together she was able to collect fees and surcharges on the sales of the products to fund the research required for re-registration. After successfully forming a strychnine consortium, she went on to form a zinc phosphide consortium as well.

In 1990, Kathy became program manager for the Product Development and Registration Unit, which included registrations, analytical chemistry, economics, and various specialized projects. With the help of Ed Schafer, Kathy successfully reregistered all the vertebrate pesticide products previously utilized by the Center. This required nearly a decade of work including hundreds of studies, data gathering, and building a new rapport with the EPA. The Product Development and Registration Unit underwent a reorganization in 2006 and was renamed the Invasive Species and Technology Unit. Duties regarding registration, analytical chemistry, and specialized projects remained the same, but management of the field stations in Hilo, HI, Gainesville, FL, and Philadelphia, PA were added to this program. As a supervisor of projects, Kathy was heavily involved with developing methods to control invasive species such as the Brown Treesnake in Guam.

Later in her career Kathy played a significant role in technology transfer issues, particularly in developing wildlife contraceptives as an alternative management tool to lethal methods. Under her leadership, the first two contraceptives for wildlife were registered with the EPA. The first, Nicarbazin for geese, was registered in 2005. The second, Gonacon, an immunocontraceptive vaccine for white-tailed deer developed by Lowell Miller at the Center, was registered in 2010. In the last few years of her career with the NWRC, Kathy facilitated getting many of the tools developed at the Center into production by private industry and ultimately into public use. In addition, Kathy authored or coauthored more than 100 publications related to wildlife damage management during her time with the Center. After more than 40 years of service, Kathy retired from the NWRC in July 2013.


36 linear feet

Language of Materials



Kathy Fagerstone began her career with the Center in 1971, becoming the first female physical science technician at the Research Center. During her 40 year career with the Center, Kathy advanced from a technician, to a wildlife biologist, to a research wildlife biologist, to project leader, and finally to a program manager. Her research interests included risk assessment and small mammal ecology of prairie dogs, ground squirrels and black-footed ferrets. However, the focus of her work shifted to chemical registrations after congress amended the pesticide registration provisions of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) in 1988. Kathy was instrumental in forming the strychnine and zinc phosphide consortia and became leader of the Product Development and Registration section in 1990. She also played an integral role in getting Gonacon, an immunocontraceptive vaccine for wildlife, registered with the EPA. In the last years of her career, she served as program manager for the technology transfer program, overseeing data requirements for over 20 federally registered vertebrate pesticide products to manage birds, rodents, predators, and brown tree snakes. Fagerstone retired from the Center in July of 2013.


The Kathy Fagerstone Records (NWRC 0035) are arranged into seven series based on subject matter and material type. Series III and IV are further separated into additional subseries for ease and clarity. All series and subseries are arranged in alphabetical order.

Series I: ADC/WS Reports, Correspondence, and Meeting Records, 1980-2013
Series II: Invasive Species Unit/Brown Tree Snake Records, 1988-2012
Series III: Product Development and Registration Unit Records, 1971-2007
Subseries 1: Chemical Compounds, 1971-2007
Subseries 2: Endangered Species, 1987-2003
Subseries 3: Unit Reports and Correspondence, 1984-2006
Subseries 4: Wildlife Contraceptives, 1991-2006

Series IV: Small Mammal Studies, 1968-2013
Subseries 1: Black-footed Ferrets, 1977-2013
Subseries 2: Black-tailed Jackrabbits, 1972-1980
Subseries 3: Ground Squirrels, 1968-1987
Subseries 4: Pocket Gophers, 1977-1998
Subseries 5: Prairie Dogs, 1970-2001

Series V: Talks/Presentations Given by Kathy Fagerstone, 1977-2012
Series VI: Thesis Work on Ground Squirrels, 1978-1988
Series VII: Images, 1968-2009

Legal Status

Copyright restrictions may apply. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Repository Details

Part of the National Wildlife Research Center Archives Repository

4101 LaPorte Ave
Fort Collins CO 80521 USA