Genoa NFH Breaks Ground on New Interpretive Center
BY KATIE STEIGERMEISTER MIDWEST REGION EA and SUBMITTED BY DOUG ALOISI GENOA NFH
Credit: Kubala Washatcko Architects
Wisconsin 3rd district Congressman Ron Kind, state Congressional representatives, members of the Sac and Fox Tribe of Oklahoma, the National Scenic Byways Commission, and the local media helped Genoa National Fish Hatchery celebrate the commemorative groundbreaking for the future Great River Road Interpretive Center on August 21, 2013.
The new interpretive center will be located on site at the Genoa National Fish Hatchery in Genoa, Wisconsin. The Interpretive Center will house displays on the natural history of the Upper Mississippi River Region, and include the conservation story the hatchery has to play in aquatic species restoration and recovery. The project is being partially funded from a grant secured by the National Scenic Byways Program, part of the federal transportation budget. The grant is the first of its type for the Fisheries Program nationally, and the first use of Department of Transportation, Federal Highways -- National Scenic Byways funding of any type awarded to a national fish hatchery.
Elder Stella Nullake during the groundbreaking
ceremony. Credit: Jerry Weigel
The center will also focus on the intrinsic value of the Upper Mississippi River, including its history and natural resources. The center will also feature an exhibit on the last battle of the Black Hawk War, which was fought just south of the hatchery.
The value of the new interpretive facility lies within its accessibility to both local residents and travelers on the National Scenic Byway. The new facility will offer visitors opportunities to learn about the aquatic resources of the Upper Mississippi River Basin. Exhibits will feature the hatchery and its current programs, including the story of the freshwater mussel, and its past and present economic and ecological value. Visitors to the center will also be able to access the outdoor experiences at the hatchery through its wetlands boardwalk and by touring its extensive grounds and rearing areas.
An estimated 14,000 people per year visit Genoa National Fish Hatchery to view fish and aquatic species, and participate in educational and recreational programs. Visitation is expected to significantly increase after the facility is completed in 2014.