What We Do

The Welaka National Fish Hatchery was built in 1926 and originally operated by the State of Florida. In 1938 the hatchery was transferred to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Ponds are operated at two locations. Those ponds at headquarters, near the aquarium, are called the Welaka Unit, and a second group of ponds about three miles south of headquarters is called the Beecher Unit. The Beecher Unit is named for the spring that serves as the water supply. Beecher Spring has a flow of 4,000 gallons per minute at a constant temperature of 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Water for the Welaka Unit comes from a well 423 feet deep and also from the St. Johns River.