Willow Beach has recently completed 5 projects using Recovery Act funds. The largest of the five projects included rehabilitating the hatchery and shop buildings at Willow Beach to bring them up to seismic standards. Willow Beach sits on an active fault line located along the Colorado River. The second project, involved replacing the electrical systems at the A bank raceways to bring them up to code standards. The third project replaced sewer lines from three buildings with new PVC pipe. The fourth and fifth projects involving energy efficiency upgrades. Efficiency upgrades included; installation of a solar power system and replacement of 19 windows and 9 doors at the hatchery. The upgrades replaced the original windows and doors installed in 1959.
Raising Rainbow Trout
The hatchery manages year-round production of rainbow trout for recreational fishing. The cycle of raising trout begins when eyed-egg shipments are received from federal brood stock facilities, which include Erwin National Fish Hatchery and White Sulfur Springs National Fish Hatchery. Eggs are placed into upwelling incubators until hatch. Once hatched, trout are raised in tank room raceways to three inches. After trout reach three inches, they are moved to outside raceways for the remainder of grow-out. Once fish reach the target size of 12" they are used to fulfill program commitments. A typical production cycle lasts 12 months.
In 2010 the hatchery updated all eight of the recirculation units used to rear razorback suckers. The recirculation systems are comprised of a waterproof platform that keeps untreated river water from entering the rearing system, 1 HP Jacuzzi water pumps, stainless steel UV sterilizers, DE filters, heat diffusers and air blowers. All this equipment was updated or replaced along with new air manifolds, air lines and air stones. In addition, the plumbing, including piping that directs water through solar panels on the roof tops has been updated since the desert sun turns PVC brittle after a few short years. By updating these systems, the recirculation units have improved water movement, water quality and heating efficiency. The new systems are less maintenance and ultimately will give Willow Beach NFH the ability to produce higher quality razorback suckers for years to come.
Tapping into the sun
In March 2010, Willow Beach National Fish Hatchery installed an 8.39 Kilowatt Photo Voltaic power system. Willow Beach is located in the Mohave Desert in Arizona (the sunniest state in the U.S.) and averages 334 days a year of sunshine. This makes the hatchery a perfect location to generate solar electricity and reduce consumption. Although this will not generate enough power to operate the hatchery, it does help. We are looking forward to years of free energy to come from the sun!
Redesigned Feeder Racks
In 2012 hatchery staff designed and manufactured new feeding racks that are built from steel. The new rack design puts the feeders in the center of the raceway for better feed dispersion. The new racks are also more ergonomically friendly because of the height they rest at when they are in the up position which makes loading the feeder easier. An additional benefit is that the racks keep the feeder out of reach of tourists.
Achii Hanyo Native Fish Facility
Developed in partnership with members of the Hopi, Chemehuevei, Navajo, and Mohave tribal nations known as CRIT a former commercial aquaculture facility was renovated to accommodate the rearing and production of native fishes.
Achii Hanyo help address the need identified under the Lower Colorado Multi Species Conservation Plan and the FWS Endangered Species Program for 600,000 Bonytail chub and 600,000 Razorback suckers to be produced and repatriated to the Lower Colorado River over fifty years.