In January 2012 lake trout eggs began hatching at Allegheny NFH for the first time since 2005. The resulting sac-fry were place in grow-out tanks in the hatching building and shortly thereafter swam up and started feeding on fish food.
In December, the hatchery received a total of one million lake trout eggs from the State of Vermont’s Salisbury Fish Hatchery, the Sullivan Creek National Fish Hatchery in Michigan, and the Iron River National Fish Hatchery in Wisconsin. The eggs have hatched and the trout fry will be moved to outdoor raceways in Summer 2012. These fish will grow for 18 months and the trout "yearlings" will be stocked into lakes Erie and Ontario in May 2013.
In November, five-year-old juvenile lake trout from Berkshire National Trout Hatchery in western Massachusetts were transported and released into the raceways at Allegheny National Fish Hatchery. These 2,200 fish will mature this fall and will produce eggs for future generations of lake trout raised at the hatchery. The eggs that produced the brood stock were taken from wild fish captured from Cayuga Lake, NY and are of the Seneca Lake strain of lake trout. The eggs were originally transported to and reared in quarantine at the Genoa National Fish Hatchery in Wisconsin. After passing three consecutive fish health tests disease free, the juveniles were transported to Berkshire NTH in 2008.
September and October 2011
The waste water treatment pond at the Allegheny NFH was upgraded to meet discharge permit water quality requirements.
June through August 2011
The brook trout were systematically sampled by the Northeast Fish Health Center in Lamar, PA to test for IPNv and other fish diseases of concern. After three months of sampling, Allegheny NFH was certified disease-free in August 2011 and the remaining brook trout were transported to Lamar National Fish Hatchery for later stocking into Pennsylvania streams and rivers.
Construction was approximately 90% complete in May 2011. At this time construction was temporarily halted to begin fish health tests.
Brook trout were transferred from White River NFH to the outside raceways at ANFH. The disease of primary concern was the fish virus Infectious Pancreatic Necrosis virus (IPNv), but analysis covered all other fish pathogens of concern.
Construction was resumed in mid-August 2011 and was considered complete September 30, 2011.
In March 2010 the Service awarded a $1.7 million general construction contract to William T. Spaeder Co., Inc., to construct the aeration tower.
In 2009, the Allegheny National Fish Hatchery received over $1 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA or stimulus) funding. This is sufficient to pursue the construction of the aeration (or water treatment) tower, necessary to return the facility to production.
On September 14, 2009 a pre-solicitation announcement, listing details of the project and offering a place for interested contractors to request further information, was posted on the FedBizOpps website. The pre-solicitation announcement is open until October 16, 2009. For more information visit http://www.fbo.gov and search for solicitation number 50181RR008, in Pennsylvania.
Please continue to visit this website for progress reports on the construction project.
As of June 2008 the future broodstock were transferred from the Genoa NFH, to the Berkshire NFH in western Massachusetts. Here they will continue to be reared until Allegheny is able to accept them again.
Currently Allegheny is still ‘dry’. The facility installed metal covers over the exterior fish rearing area this addition will prevent access to the fish by wildlife and migratory birds. It is believed that one of the main pathways for the virus that caused the depopulation was bird access to the raceways. In addition to scrubbing the interior rearing facilities, and repairing concrete in our raceways, in 2007 the facility began the consultation process to design and build a new aeration and degassing tower. This will replace the original structure of the facility that is showing signs of advanced age, and will offer us the ability to remove nitrogen and radon gasses from the well water used for the fish. This removal, along with the ability to add oxygen to the deep well water, will provide water of much higher quality than was previously available to our fish, and should benefit our future production.
By the end of calendar year 2008, the Fish and Wildlife Service had a 90% plan in place for the construction of the new aeration tower. We expect to have a 100% approved plan by the end of January 2009. Construction will be phased in over the next couple of years, as we are currently funded for an estimated 50% of the project.
The hatchery tested positive in 2005 for the fish virus Infectious Pancreatic Necrosis (or IPNv). While no human health concerns are associated with this disease, the virus causes significant mortality in the early lifestages of the fish. Releasing ‘carrier’ fish would be a set back to our goal of natural reproduction in the wild. Additionally, the Great Lakes Fish Health Policy prohibits the stocking of fish positive for this disease in the Great Lakes Watershed; and Fish and Wildlife Service Fish Policy prohibits the expansion of range of this virus. Therefore the decision was made in 2005 to depopulate the facility – in other words remove all fish from the hatchery. Following the depopulation, the facility needs to be thoroughly disinfected, using a chlorine solution.
In 2006 minimal stocking occurred in the two lower Great Lakes – and these fish were provided by the State of New York and Province of Ontario. The Service, meanwhile, has temporarily relocated lake trout production to the White River National Fish Hatchery in Bethel VT In 2007 and 2008 the Service was again able to meet the obligation of stocking fish in Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. We anticipate full stocking to occur in 2009 as well.
Wild lake trout eggs were collected in fall 2006, from the shores of Cayuga Lake in New York. These eggs were transferred to the Genoa National Fish Hatchery in Genoa WI. Here they were reared in isolation for 18 months; and once they passed three fish health inspections became available to Allegheny and her partner hatcheries for use as future broodstock. However, the fish must be 6 years old to produce eggs, and these fish will not contribute eggs to the program until 2011 or 2012. Until that time, the lower Great Lakes will continue to receive lake trout eggs from Sullivan’s Creek National Fish Hatchery in Brimley MI, Iron River National Fish Hatchery in Iron River WI, and Bath State Fish Hatchery in Bath NY.
All images by FWS unless otherwise noted