Water for the hatchery is obtained by diverting water from Pennington Creek, where it is gravity fed through a mile-long canal to the many ponds and raceways. Being a spring-fed creek, it is a reliable source of clean water during times of drought.
Each of the species reared at this hatchery has different needs for growth, health, and reproduction which must be accommodated in order for successful production of fish and turtles for release in the wild. Many of the procedures necessary for successful captive rearing and reproduction were developed here; and some requirements still need refining. Researchers from Texas Tech University, Oklahoma State University, and Missouri State University are working with hatchery staff to refine culture methods for Arkansas River shiners and alligator snapping turtles.