U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228
May 15, 2009
Contact: Kerry Grande (307) 733-2510
Contact: Sharon Rose (303) 236-4580
New Facilities Now Under Construction at Jackson National Fish Hatchery
After many years of attempts to get new hatchery facilities constructed at Jackson National Fish Hatchery located near Jackson, Wyoming, construction is finally under way. On March 2, 2009, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service awarded a $4.181 million contract to Johnson Wilson Constructors of Helena, Montana, for construction of a new hatchery building and garage. Mobilization of supplies and equipment and preliminary foundation work began in late April. Completion is expected by summer 2010.
In 2000 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined that the existing hatchery buildings were not constructed to safely withstand the “exceptionally high risk” seismic zone of the Jackson, Wyoming area and heavy snow loads on a flat roofed building. Because of these health and human safety issues, public access to the hatchery buildings was immediately suspended, and actions were also taken during the following years to reduce and eventually eliminate employee access to the unsafe structures.
While fish production and operation of the hatchery have continued at reduced levels through the use of temporary facilities during the period following closure of the unsafe buildings, completion of the new structures next summer will allow the hatchery to resume normal operations and full production. Because of the on-going construction, the hatchery site is currently closed to public visitation. However, once construction is completed next year, public visitation to the hatchery site, including youth fishing activities at the hatchery pond, will resume. The hatchery is located on the National Elk Refuge about four miles north of the town of Jackson.
During fiscal year 2001 a project to replace the buildings at Jackson National Fish Hatchery was included on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Five-Year Plan of needed construction projects. However, due to various issues involving federal construction budgets, funding was not available for the project until FY 2008. When the project was advertised for bids last spring, only one bid was received, and it was greater than the available funding. As a result, last fall the project was scaled back, re-designed and another request for proposals was issued this winter. This resulted in the recent award of the contract in March of this year.
Jackson NFH is a federal fish hatchery, part of the National Fish Hatchery System, with primary missions to rear and stock native Snake River cutthroat trout and lake trout in order to mitigate the effects of federal water projects on fish populations, to provide recreational fishing opportunities and to prevent the need to list the Snake River cutthroat trout under the Endangered Species Act. The hatchery has historically produced over 1 million trout eggs and stocked up to 400,000 trout annually in over 20 different waters within an 18,000 square mile area providing up to 40,000 angler days of recreational fishing valued at over $4 million.
The National Fish Hatchery System is comprised of 70 fish hatcheries, 7 Fish Technology Centers, and 9 Fish Health Centers nationwide. The System, operated by the Fish and Wildlife Service, has a unique responsibility in helping restore native aquatic populations, mitigate for fisheries lost as a result of federal water projects, provide fish to benefit Native American Tribal areas and National Wildlife Refuges, and to recover species listed under the Endangered Species Act. The National Fish Hatchery System works closely with other programs in the Fish and Wildlife Service and with states, tribes, and the private sector to complement habitat restoration and other resource management strategies for maintaining healthy ecosystems that support healthy fisheries.
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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