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Two Warm Water Recirculating Hatcheries used for Propagation of Endangered Species in the Upper Colorado River Drainage System

Michael Montagne

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Ouray National Fish Hatchery
1380 South 2350 West
Vernal, UT 84078 USA

Keywords: recirculating, hatchery, Colorado River, endangered fish species

International Journal of Recirculating Aquaculture 7 (2006). All Rights Reserved
© Copyright 2006 by Virginia Tech and Virginia Sea Grant, Blacksburg, VA USA


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has built two warm water recirculating hatchery facilities to enhance populations of endangered fish in the upper Colorado River Drainage System. The Grand Valley Propagation Facility, in Grand Junction Colorado, was built in 1996 inside of a warehouse donated to the USFWS by the Bureau of Reclamation (USBR). In 1997 the hatchery was expanded, adding a second recirculating hatchery. The second hatchery more than doubled the capacity of the original facility. The Grand Valley Propagation Facility currently has the capacity to rear approximately 40,000 - 200 mm endangered razorback suckers (Xyrauchen texanus) to stock into ponds for grow-out to 300 mm. The resulting razorback suckers are stocked into the Colorado, Gunnison, and San Juan Rivers.

In 1996 the Ouray National Fish Hatchery (ONFH) was constructed at Ouray National Wildlife Refuge (ONWR) to replace a small experimental facility practicing extensive culture. In 1998, the hatchery was completed and consisted of 36 lined ponds, and a recirculating facility. Poor water quality, design flaws, and poor research have led to a nearly complete replacement of all water filtration components. The ONFH currently has the capacity to rear approximately 25,000 300 mm razorback suckers. The resulting razorback suckers are stocked into the Green River. As problems and limitations were encountered, both facilities were upgraded and improved to their current configurations. All of the modifications have led to insight into many types of filtration, filtration media, and intensive fish culture techniques.