Living the Dream
Dances with Gila Trout
A short story by Nate Wiese, Project Leader at Mora NFH.
The Uvalde National Fish Hatchery is located near Uvalde, TX, approximately 90 miles southwest of San Antonio, TX, and is situated on 100 acres of former mesquite grasslands. Visitors are always welcome at the hatchery and may participate in a guided or unguided tour of the facilities. Stop by our Visitor Information page for Visitor Center hours, area map, trail map, and directions to the hatchery.
The facilities at the hatchery include 50 ponds, a newly completed intensive culturing facility and a high tech water supply system. The two-acre wildlife pond located across from the Visitor Center features a walking path with several points for bird watching and wildlife observation. The hatchery also features an Outdoor Classroom as part of its Environmental Education program.
Establishment of the hatchery originated from a 100 acre land donation by the County of Uvalde in 1935. This donation came shortly after the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act of 1934 which allowed for the acceptance of land donations to be used for the protection, rearing, stocking, and increase of game supply. Construction began on October 1, 1935 under a Works Progress Administration (WPA) program, and was mostly complete in 1937, with commencement of operations beginning in 1938.
Originally, the hatchery was operated by the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife. The original mission included the stocking of ranch ponds in southern Texas, as well as large reservoirs in New Mexico, Arizona, Oklahoma, and Kansas. Species raised at that time included largemouth bass, sunfish, and channel catfish. The station has also operated as the Uvalde Fish Cultural Station under the U.S. Department of Commerce. Historically, the hatchery has reared Florida-strain largemouth bass, Guadalupe bass, striped bass, paddle fish, Yaqui catfish, blue catfish, northern pike, walleye, Tilapia, and gar.
With the passing of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 the hatchery’s mission expanded towards restoration and mitigation stockings. Today the hatchery is operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and focuses on propagation efforts to promote the recovery and or restoration of threatened and endangered species. Currently, the hatchery works with five threatened or endangered species and raises channel catfish for recreational fishing.
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