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Service Helps Iowa Hatcheries Recover From June Flooding
Midwest Region, June 30, 2008
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Genoa NFH Assistant Project Leader Jim Luoma gives hatchery manager Brian Lacey, Iowa DNR a hand up with rainbow trout to replace fish lost in the flood of 2008 FWS photo
Genoa NFH Assistant Project Leader Jim Luoma gives hatchery manager Brian Lacey, Iowa DNR a hand up with rainbow trout to replace fish lost in the flood of 2008 FWS photo - Photo Credit: n/a

With rainfalls exceeding more than nine inches in 24 hours, whole towns were inundated with floodwaters throughout the Midwest this June. More than 100 counties in central and eastern Iowa and southwestern Wisconsin were declared federal disaster areas during the flood.  Two Iowa Department of Natural Resource Hatcheries in eastern Iowa were not spared from the flood waters. 

The Manchester Fish Hatchery and Big Springs Fish Hatchery of northeastern Iowa were swept up in the flood, causing the loss of 140,000 catchable-size rainbow trout.  Flood waters covered the outside raceways and filled the hatchery building and offices during the worst flooding seen since the early 1990s.  This loss is thought to have set back the recreational stocking program in northeastern Iowa for up to 1.5 years in lost production time.   The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a long and storied history of cooperating with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to recover and restore fish and freshwater mussel populations.   A cry for help was put out by Iowa to the Midwest fish and wildlife agencies in hopes that other facilities may have eggs or fish to help replace the lost production.  

The Genoa, Wis. hatchery  raises more than 20,000 catchable rainbow trout annually to stock in tribal or Department of Defense waters to help bolster sport fishing opportunities, and also raises rainbow trout fingerlings as a disease free source of forage for captive brood programs that support the restoration of freshwater mussel populations.  With a neighbor in need, the Genoa station rerouted 15,000 3.75-inch rainbow trout from the ongoing forage program to the two flood damaged hatcheries to help jumpstart their programs.  Genoa's sister station in Neosho, Mo. also lent a helping hand and sent 10,000 3.75-inch rainbow trout up north as well.  Through neighbors helping neighbors it is hoped that recreational fishing opportunities recover and abound in eastern Iowa for many years to come. 


Contact Info: Larry Dean, 612-713-5312, Larry_Dean@fws.gov



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