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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes
A small earthquake shakes things up
Region 1, July 16, 2013
This photo shows the raceways before the pre-coating
This photo shows the raceways before the pre-coating - Photo Credit: n/a
A new color of coating now named
A new color of coating now named "Entiat Green" was mixed specifically for the fish. - Photo Credit: n/a
The earthquake created fissures in the concrete raceways and significant water loss was occurring before repair.
The earthquake created fissures in the concrete raceways and significant water loss was occurring before repair. - Photo Credit: n/a

You hear it in the news so often that federal workers are lazy or wasting money or (fill in the blank)…the list is sometimes endless. But, the truth is that FWS employees are dedicated and hardworking people that are passionate about their work, natural resources, and service to the American people and prefer to do their jobs while staying well out of any limelight.

There are many examples of this throughout the Service. The following is a recent example of how a project was managed in an innovative way by the dedicated folks of the Entiat National Fish Hatchery of Region 1.

The crew did not feel that special attention should be drawn to them, because in their words “We feel, a hard working day (week or month) is just another day here at Entiat." As Hatchery Manager Craig Chisam said, “In short, the entire crew goes above and beyond on a daily basis and they did not want a specific project to be pointed out as extraordinary.” But, an earthquake is not a normal, everyday occurance and it had a major impact on the hatchery and these dedicated folks responded as they always do, with speed, dedication to the resource and plenty of hard work.

Some excerpts from Josh's(ENFH Fish Biologist)June monthly report tell the story:

Following a magnitude 3.2 earthquake in August 2012 and an epicenter near the facility, hatchery staff began to notice some differences between the water entering certain raceways. On the 24th of September, a fairly large moist spot located at the head of B-bank began to emerge.

A local contractor was hired to excavate and upon excavation, several sources of water emerging from the tail end of A-bank and the head end of B-bank became evident. Due to the fact that the raceways were currently being used and there were no clear cracks or a single source of leakage, no permanent or effective fix could be applied at the time. With the leakage source being somewhat nebulous and appearing to be derived from several locations in two banks of raceways, the only effective repair would be a semi-permanent membrane or epoxy-type coating applied to the entire bank of raceways after the fish were released in April 2013.

In October, hatchery staff compared well readings to crested-weir measurements taken at the facility’s outflow and found they were vastly different then measurements taken during the last few months. It was discovered that the facility was losing up to 30% of its water from the raceways.

(Note: spring forward to 2013) The coating of the raceways with a LifeLast Durashield 310 polyurethane membrane in custom “Entiat Green” was completed in June, almost three months after starting preparation on the project.

In order to stretch the project budget to its fullest, hatchery staff took on the job of doing all the prep work for the project. Along with normal duties, countless hours were spent removing walkways, using a 4,000 psi pressure washer to clean all surfaces to bare and solid concrete, sealing cracks, leveling or repairing flaking concrete (utilizing over 6,000 pounds of rapid set cement), and then going back over every square inch of each raceway to make sure it had the best possible surface for the membrane to adhere to.

By doing all the work themselves, hatchery staff were able to knock-off over half of the initial cost estimate of the project. The savings to the American Public....some $300,000. So far the new coating has been great and the color is a good compromise allowing for easy observation in the raceways but not so light as to cause spookiness and adverse behavior with the fish.

So, the next time you’re up near Entiat—you just might want to offer a “Thank you” to a great team of folks who are dedicated to their fish, community, and who are “just having another work day” while they quietly make a big difference in conservation of natural resources.

Contact Info: Susan Peterson, 509-548-6662 ext 231, susan_peterson@fws.gov