Dan O’Keefe

Southwest District Extension Educator


Works with coastal communities and businesses in southwest Michigan to apply science-based knowledge to address Great Lakes and southern Lake Michigan issues. The southwest district serves Mason, Oceana, Muskegon, Ottawa, Allegan, Van Buren, and Berrien counties.


  • Assists Great Lakes charter boat, recreational, and commercial fishing industries in adapting to changing environmental, economic, and sociopolitical conditions.
  • Promotes understanding of connections between watersheds, rivers, drowned river mouth lakes, and Lake Michigan to highlight impacts of inland communities on Great Lakes fisheries.
  • Works to prevent the spread of aquatic nuisance species through targeted outreach programs.


  • B.S. Michigan State University (Fisheries and Wildlife)
  • M.S. Central Michigan University (Biology)
  • Ph.D. Mississippi State University (Wildlife and Fisheries)

Professional Interests

  • Fisheries management
  • Lake and stream ecology
  • Invasive species prevention

Professional Activities

  • Michigan Chapter of the American Fisheries Society, President-elect
  • Great Lakes Panel on Aquatic Nuisance Species, Michigan alternate representative
  • Lake Michigan Citizen’s Advisory Committee (MDNR), Michigan Sea Grant representative

Online Extension Resources

Previous Experience

Designed and procured funding for research projects involving assessment of gamefish populations in south Mississippi following Hurricane Katrina, restoration and ecology of paddlefish in the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway, and distribution of redhorse suckers in Michigan streams. Seven years of on-the-water experience working for universities and consultants sampling fish populations, zooplankton, and water quality.


Nordman, E., D. M. O’Keefe, and E. Arndt. 2016. Enhancing public engagement on offshore wind energy using genius loci: A case study from the Lake Michigan coast. The International Journal of Sustainability Policy and Practice. 12(4):19-32.

O’Keefe D. M., D. L. Wesander, and C. Oh. 2015. Factors influencing charter fishing effort trends in Lake Huron. Fisheries. 40(5):214-221.

Lichktkoppler, F., D. M. O’Keefe, J. E. Lucente, and T. Gabriel. 2015. The Great Lakes charter fishing industry: 2002 to 2011. Fisheries 40(5):200-212.

Alford, J. B., D. M. O’Keefe, and D. C. Jackson.  2010.  Effects of stocking adult largemouth bass to enhance fisheries recovery in Pascagoula River floodplain lakes impacted by Hurricane Katrina.   Proceedings of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies 63(2009) 104-110. Article.

O’Keefe, D. M., and D. C. Jackson.  2009. Population characteristics of paddlefish in two Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway habitats. Pages 83-100 in C. P. Paukert and G. D. Scholten, editors. Paddlefish management, propagation, and conservation in the 21st century: building from 20 years of research and management.  American Fisheries Society, Symposium 66, Bethesda, Maryland. 443 pp.

Alford, J. B., D. M. O’Keefe, and D. C. Jackson.  2008. Developing a framework for fisheries restoration in the Pascagoula River Basin following Hurricane Katrina. Pages 201-218 in K. D. McLaughlin, editor. Mitigating impacts of natural hazards on fishery ecosystems.  American Fisheries Society, Symposium 64, Bethesda, Maryland. 446 pp.

O’Keefe, D. M., J. C. O’Keefe, and D. C. Jackson. 2007. Factors influencing paddlefish spawning in the Tombigbee watershed. Southeastern Naturalist 6(2):321-332. Abstract.


Dan O’Keefe knows that managing fisheries takes cooperation from partners who may not always see eye-to-eye. Read more about Dan’s efforts to unite stakeholders around shared challenges. This interview is part of a series of articles honoring Michigan Sea Grant Extension educators during the 2016 National Sea Grant College Program’s 50th anniversary celebration.

Phone: (616) 994-4580
Fax: (616) 994-4579

Michigan Sea Grant Extension
12220 Fillmore Street, Suite 122
West Olive, MI 49460