Alaska Fish & Wildlife News
July 2011

New Sport Fish Hatcheries
Gearing up For Production

By Jeff Milton
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Rainbow trout fry just after arrival at the new WJHSFH.

Just over a year ago I submitted an article entitled “Ruth Burnett Sport Fish Hatchery Open for Business.” While the facility has been open for business it has not been the business of rearing fish. The staff has been busy improving water quality. Well water available at the facility contains high levels of dissolved iron and manganese. Removal of these elements is critical to providing safe water for rearing fish. ADF&G is working with CH2M Hill (the system designers) to improve removal efficiency. While significant progress has been made there is still more work to be done. Water quality is good at low flows and the hatchery staff has begun operational testing of the larger recirculating production systems. It is expected that water quality under high flow conditions will be under control and fish will begin rearing in the facility in the coming months.

On a brighter note there are nearly 1,000,000 rainbow trout fry rearing in the William Jack Hernandez Sport Fish Hatchery! Major construction in the facility has concluded and most of the fish rearing systems are ready for fish. The first transfer of rainbow trout fry from the Fort Richardson Hatchery took place just after the 4th of July weekend. So far the fish and staff seem happy with their new home and the warmer waters available there. Until the RBSFH is fully operational all eggs and fry for that program are being transferred to the WFHSFH. The first catchable sized rainbow trout will be available for stocking in the spring of 2012. After nearly a decade of planning, fundraising, design and construction activity the new hatcheries are finally becoming a reality!

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The Ruth Burnett Sport Fish Hatchery

Thanks to all who have supported the development of these new hatcheries.

ADF&G hopes to welcome the public to the facilities sometime this fall.

Jeff Milton is the Sport Fish Hatchery Program Supervisor, stationed in Anchorage. He has been a fish culturist for over 20 years and worked with the department for 10 years.

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