Practical, applied fisheries research in Wisconsin
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has one of strongest state fish research programs in the upper Midwest. Many fisheries research projects are funded in part through Sport Fish Restoration Program grants including those related to climate change impacts on Wisconsin stream fish, evaluating large river hydropower impacts, evaluating fish community response to stream flow changes in the Menominee River system, and examining conservation genetics of Wisconsin fish. Sport Fish restoration funding also supports the state's fish hatchery system through research projects related to fish propagation. The Wisconsin fisheries program also utilizes these funds to evaluate lake sturgeon distribution, movement and stocking success in the upper St. Croix and Nmaekagon Rivers.
Improving efficiency at Wild Rose State Fish Hatchery in Wisconsin
Sport Fish Restoration funding supported the expansion and renovation of Wild Rose State Fish Hatchery in Wisconsin, a more than 100-year old facility in dire need of repair to maintain stocking demands for trout, salmon, northern mike, lake sturgeon, spotted musky and walleye. Wild Rose State Fish Hatchery, a critical workhorse for Wisconsin's fish propagation system, was able to construct a new cold water hatchery for trout and salmon and a cool water hatchery for northern pike, spotted musky, walleye and lake sturgeon. Phase 1 of construction built a nursery for egg incubation and early rearing, a broodstock building, four covered production raceway buildings, new water supply, distribution and water reuse systems that bring the water supply into compliance, a new consolidated, state-of-the-art fish rearing wastewater treatment system and a visitors center. Phase 2 involved the construction of a cool water nursery building for egg incubation, hatching and early rearing and the ability to rear fish under intensive, recirculation conditions, the construction of 14 modern rearing ponds and construction of a water supply and distribution system that includes a high capacity well. The third and final phase of this project is underway. This will include the restoration of the wetlands, springs and headwaters of a stream that were on the site before the old hatchery was built more than a century ago. A backup groundwater well will also be constructed to supply both the cool and cold water sides of the hatchery.
With these renovations and enhancements, Wild Rose is a state-of-the-art hatchery facility with greater efficiency and flexibility, and increased environmental protection. The hatchery will produce healthier fish, and will be able to increase production of trout and salmon by about 15 percent and will be able to nearly double its production of northern pike, spotted musky, lake sturgeon and walleye.