Living the Dream
Dances with Gila Trout
A short story by Nate Wiese, Project Leader at Mora NFH.
Willow Beach National Fish Hatchery is located on the Arizona side of the Colorado River eleven miles below Hoover Dam, within Lake Mead National Recreation Area. The hatchery works with two endangered species, bonytail chub and razorback sucker, and one candidate species, the relict leopard frog.
Achii Hanyo Native Fish Rearing Facility, a satellite facility for Willow Beach National Fish Hatchery is located on lands of the Colorado River Indian Tribes (CRIT), approximately five miles southwest of the town of Parker, Arizona. The primary focus of this facility is to raise the endangered bonytail chub and razorback sucker.
Willow Beach National Fish Hatchery was established by a Memorandum of Understanding between the Bureau of Reclamation, National Park Service and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service on April 24, 1959. Construction began on Willow Beach National Fish Hatchery in 1959 and the first fish were stocked in 1962. The hatchery was established to use the cold water released from Hoover Dam to raise rainbow trout for sport fishing.
Historically, Willow Beach stocked rainbow trout from Lake Powell to Yuma, Arizona. Shortly after the Endangered Species Act was enacted in 1973 the hatchery began working with threatened and endangered fish native to the Colorado River. In the past the hatchery has worked with the endangered Colorado pikeminnow and humpback chub.
In 1996 a Memorandum of Understanding was signed with the CRIT to renovate and dedicate a former commercial aquaculture facility to the rearing and production of the endangered razorback suckers and bonytail chubs, which is now known as the Achii Hanyo Native Fish Rearing Facility. Fish culture operations began in 1998.
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