Paddlefish Restoration and Recovery
The Station’s primary focus is rearing paddlefish to re-establish populations above impoundments on the Arkansas and Red Rivers where paddlefish have been extirpated. Populations have been re-established in Kaw Lake, Oologah Lake, and Lake Texoma using hatchery-reared fish. We are currently in the sixth year of a ten-year stocking plan to re-establish paddlefish in Lake Eufaula.
Excellent survival and growth of hatchery reared paddlefish have resulted in self-sustaining populations above three impoundments in the Arkansas River system.
Alligator Snapping Turtle and Alligator Gar Restoration and Recovery
The hatchery rears alligator snapping turtles and alligator gar, both considered to be imperiled within their native ranges, to determine critical components of life histories and captive rearing requirements.
State agencies in Oklahoma, Illinois, Kansas, and Tennessee have requested captive-reared alligator snapping turtles for re-introduction, and we currently provide alligator gar fingerlings to Missouri for stocking into waters where this species has been extirpated.
In 2013 the Missouri Department of Conservation requested an increase in the amount of alligator gar produced at the hatchery. Hatchery staff took action to try a new growing method that set a record for alligator gar production. Read more about it in our Field Notes article, New Technique for Alligator Gar Production at Tishomingo NFH Sets Record, posted in August 2013.
Arkansas River Shiner
Arkansas River shiners are a small species of fish native to the Canadian and Cimarron Rivers in Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, and New Mexico. The species was listed as threatened due to habitat changes (primarily reduced flows) and accidental introduction of other small fish species that out-competed the Arkansas River shiners for food and habitat. This species is no longer found in much of its native habitat including the entire Cimarron River. The Arkansas River shiner depends upon flowing water for successful breeding and survival. Flow has ceased across large portions of the Canadian River at least twice in the last decade. We are currently developing methods to successfully hold and produce Arkansas River shiners on the hatchery.
The hatchery raises catfish for recreational fishing. Channel catfish are produced to fulfill commitments for Native American tribes, National Wildlife Refuges, Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, U.S. military installations, and Service-sponsored youth fishing derbies on federal and tribal lands.