Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
LIVINGSTON STONE NFH: Hatchery Completes Life Cycle of Delta Smelt
California-Nevada Offices , June 1, 2009
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Adult delta smelt at Livingston Stone NFH. (photo: John Rueth USFWS) 
Adult delta smelt at Livingston Stone NFH. (photo: John Rueth USFWS)  - Photo Credit: n/a
Spawning an adult delta smelt. (photo: John Rueth USFWS) 
Spawning an adult delta smelt. (photo: John Rueth USFWS)  - Photo Credit: n/a

by Scott Hamelberg, Livingston Stone NFH
On June 1, 2009, the first group of delta smelt were spawned that were reared entirely at U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Livingston Stone National Fish Hatchery (NFH), thus completing the whole life cycle of Delta Smelt at the hatchery. Livingston Stone NFH is located at the base of Shasta Dam near Shasta Lake City, Calif.

About 1,000 sub-adult delta smelt were first transferred from the U.C. Davis Fish Conservation and Culture Laboratory (FCCL) in Byron, Calif., to Livingston Stone NFH in late-2006. Although those fish were successfully reared to maturity and spawned at Livingstone NFH, no larval fish survived 

A transfer of fish was again made in the fall of 2007. These fish were spawned in the spring of 2008 and not only was successful spawning completed, but the Livingston Stone NFH staff successfully reared larval fish and juvenile fish.  This successful rearing effort resulted in approximately 400 adults.  In June of 2009, the first of these adults were spawned.  The resultant fertilized eggs and larval fish are doing well and the effort has resulted in completing the entire life cycle of delta smelt in captivity at Livingston Stone NFH. 

The delta smelt (Hypomesus transpacificus) was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 1993. The FCCL in Byron, Calif., and Livingston Stone NFH are the only facilities in the world tasked with raising the delta smelt as a back-up or “refuge” population should the fish become extinct in the wild. The FCCL has been conducting delta smelt research for the last 15 years.  About $200,000 has been invested in infrastructure improvements at Livingston Stone NFH for the delta smelt program, since the facility become involved in the program in 2006.

Contact Info: scott hamelberg, 530-365-8622, scott_hamelberg@fws.gov
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