FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 1, 2009
Ashley Spratt, 612-247-2976
David Hendrix, 417-592-3153
Neosho National Fish Hatchery Breaks Ground for New Energy Efficient Visitor Center
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Neosho National Fish Hatchery (NFH) in southwest Missouri, the nation’s oldest operational federal fish hatchery, hosted a ground breaking ceremony today to celebrate the construction of a new visitor center. The 9,200 sq. ft. visitor center is expected to accommodate more than 100,000 visitors per year, enhance environmental education and interpretation opportunities, and generate economic benefits for Newton County and surrounding areas.
Federal and State legislators and local public officials in attendance for the ceremony included Congressman Roy Blunt, and staff representatives from Senator Bond and Senator McCaskill’s offices. Community members, businesses and organizations, including the Friends of the Neosho NFH, also took part in the groundbreaking ceremony.
“This is not a hatchery of the past, this is a hatchery of the future,” said Acting Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Rowan Gould.|
Neosho NFH currently receives approximately 45,000 visitors annually. The construction will convert the visitor center into an energy-efficient, LEED-certified facility, which will include installation of photovoltaic solar panels. Seating capacity will be increased to facilitate student groups and other visitors to the hatchery. Construction and operation of the visitor center is expected to generate local economic benefits in the form of enhanced tourism revenues and associated employment opportunities in southwestern Missouri.
“Think about the generations of kids that will come to this facility; they will learn more here than they could from any indoor classroom.” said Congressman Blunt, “This is a wonderful day for Newton County.”
The Neosho National Fish Hatchery faced potential closure in the 1980s. More than 20 years later, the construction and operation of the new visitor center is expected to generate local economic benefits in the local community through enhanced tourism revenues and associated employment opportunities.
“The improvements to the hatchery’s visitor center are an investment on environmental stewardship, local economic growth, and show how conservation agencies are taking steps to reduce their own carbon footprint, “ said Gould. “As conservation agents, it is our responsibility to serve as a model to Americans as we work to reduce our carbon footprint locally, and everywhere we are working, from coast to coast.”
The new visitor center will enhance community education about aquatic resources, and at the same time enhance the energy-efficiency of daily hatchery operations.
Neosho NFH was established in 1888 and is the oldest operating federal fish hatchery. The hatchery raises endangered pallid sturgeon for recovery efforts in the lower Missouri River and rainbow trout for stocking in Lake Taneycomo. The hatchery also supports conservation of the endangered Ozark cavefish and restoration of native mussels.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.
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