About Sullivan Creek National Fish Hatchery
BY CRYSTAL LEGAULT ANDERSON, PENDILLS CREEK NFH
Sullivan Creek National Fish Hatchery (NFH), (formerly known as Hiawatha Forest NFH) is one of the oldest fish hatcheries in the Midwest Region. It has quite a historical past, and is poised to continue to support the lake trout rehabilitation program in the Great Lakes far into the future. Sullivan Creek is a sister-station of the Pendills Creek NFH located in the Eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan, 30 miles west of Sault Sainte Marie, in the Hiawatha National Forest.
Originally built in 1933 by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), the hatchery was used by the U.S. Forest Service to produce brook trout for nearby streams. The hatchery, then called the Sullivan Rearing Ponds, was shut down in the 1940s because of a shortage of appropriations and manpower during World War II. In 1959, the site was transferred to the US Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife and renamed Hiawatha Forest NFH. The rearing ponds were renovated and the facility became a substation of the newly built Pendills Creek NFH; producing lake trout for stocking into the Great Lakes. In 1994, the hatchery mission changed, becoming a lake trout brood fish station, and has since distributed over 65 million disease-free eyed lake trout eggs to other federal, state, tribal, and academic agencies. In 2003, the hatchery was renamed the Sullivan Creek NFH, to more reflect its original historic name.
Today, Sullivan Creek is home to two distinct strains of lake trout brood fish: Seneca Lake Wild and the Huron Parry Sound Wild. The Huron Parry Sound Wild is the only lake trout brood fish in the US Fish and Wildlife Service system originating from Lake Huron itself. The Seneca Lake Wild is a reliable strain that has been used for decades, originating in the Finger Lakes of New York.
This spawning year, just fewer than six million lake trout eggs were shipped to Pendills Creek NFH, Jordan River NFH, the State of Michigan and the US Geological Survey Hammond Bay Biological Station in Michigan, Iron River NFH, the State of Wisconsin and the Upper Midwest Environmental Science Center in Wisconsin, Allegheny NFH in Pennsylvania and Dale Hollow NFH in Tennessee.
During 2013, and into 2014, Sullivan Creek NFH has had ongoing construction of a new egg incubation/future brood rearing building to replace the “temporary” egg incubation which was originally set up during 1996 in a cement block garage. The new incubation building was used for the first time during the 2013 spawning season, and has so far been very successful. The future brood rearing portion will be tested as soon as our new Huron Parry Sound Wild brood eggs hatch and develop enough to move into rearing tanks.