Rainbow Trout Broodstock Production
We produce disease free eggs for the National Broodstock Program to mitigate areas impacted by federal water projects. Between six and eight million rainbow trout eggs are shipped annually to 20 different federal, state and tribal hatcheries as far north as Maine and as far west as New Mexico. The eggs are then hatched, raised and stocked in lakes and streams across the country. These eggs are provided to federal, tribal, and state hatchery partners to produce a catchable size trout that support recreational fishing opportunities. After the eggs are shipped, the hatchery provides over 13,000 retired rainbow trout to the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians for stocking.
Our Projects and Research
Native Crayfish Propagation
Propagate imperiled native crayfish for recovery. Develop and implement captive holding, propagation, and reintroduction techniques as a critical component of crayfish recovery. Captive propagation and holding in refugia is needed in order to reduce the threat of extirpation from industrial spills and catastrophic events.
Freshwater Mussel Propagation for Restoration
Freshwater mussels help maintain water quality through their filter-feeding and help create stable habitat for other animals that live on the bottom of lakes and rivers. They also are one of the most imperiled groups of animals in the United States. At least seventy percent of all species are in decline with 30% federally listed as threatened or endangered. The main reasons for their decline are poor water quality and habitat loss. Propagation and stocking into restored historical habitats are vital tools being used by the Service and partners to assist with the recovery of many freshwater mussels, and to restore dwindling populations in order to prevent their listing. The White Sulphur Springs National Fish Hatchery is working to restore the following species.
- Black sandshell (Ligumia recta)
- Salamander Mussel (Simpsonaias ambigua)
- Pistolgrip (Tritogonia verrucosa)
Candy Darter Propagation
Since 2019, the hatchery has been working to recover endangered candy darters in West Virginia. Nearly half of the 35 candy darter populations known when the species was first described in 1932 have disappeared. Habitat degradation and geographic isolation have played significant roles in the candy darters’ decline leading many populations to dwindle or vanish completely. In November 2018, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the candy darter as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
The accidental release of variegate darters above Kanawha Falls in the Kanawha River has also caused competition for food, space, and mates for the candy darter. At the White Sulphur Springs National Fish Hatchery, we carefully select candy darter females and males from the wild to breed in captivity and release their progeny back into restored habitats, and to ensure the species survival. We are working closely with the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, the West Virginia University, and the Service’s West Virginia Field Office to learn more about the species genetics, habitat requirements, and population status. https://www.fws.gov/story/2022-11/sweeter-future-rare-candy-darter.
Approximately 20 percent of freshwater fish species in North America are darters. They are small, from two to three inches in length, but they are an important part of freshwater stream habitats and aquatic food chains. Some aid in the lifecycle of freshwater mussels by serving as a host for the metamorphosis of freshwater mussel larvae.