Hotchkiss National Fish Hatchery scores $1.5 million for new raceways

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Around Coyote Gulch we love a good fish story. From the Delta County Independent:

The funding is provided under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). Boise, Idaho-based McMillen, LLC received the stimulus funds for several projects to include building new fish raceways and converting old ponds into effluent ponds. Adam Mendoza, hatchery project leader, said the project was planned and in the system, but had never been funded because of its high dollar price tag. “When the money was available, they were looking for projects sitting in the system for some time and those were the ones they grabbed first. Since we had most of the paperwork and the red tape of the project accomplished, this was one of the projects picked,” Mendoza said.

Hotchkiss has 32 raceways and six earthen ponds used for raising fish. New raceways will replace the ponds. The six shallow ponds lack permanent lining, which results in water-loss and exposes fish to predators and potential disease. Creating deeper, lined raceways to replace the ponds will mitigate those issues.

Workers will convert the ponds into effluent treatment. These effluent ponds will filter nitrates and phosphates — created by fish waste — to keep them from inundating the river where the hatchery releases water. The facility presently meets Environmental Protection Agency regulation compliance, but may not meet future standards without such a system. Lining these ponds lowers the risk of diseases as they have the potential of entering the facility through the soil and moving through the facility’s system.

Weatherproof structures over the raceways will add additional protection from predators and from the elements. New asphalt roadways on the hatchery will accommodate service vehicle traffic.

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