Mussel Cages Get a Facelift on Annual Cage Repair Day
BY NATHAN ECKERT, GENOA NFH
repair day at Genoa NFH. Credit: Nathan Eckert, USFWS
This year the Genoa National Fish Hatchery (NFH) annual mussel cage repair day was held on January 26th. Both the Friends of the Upper Mississippi and the Friends of Pool 9 were represented with good numbers from both organizations. Even a winter weather related postponement didn’t dampen the spirit of our volunteers. Thirteen volunteers came out to help repair our old mussel cages and get them ready for the upcoming production season. After a couple seasons in the river our mussel cages need to be refurbished.
This is a long and labor intensive process that starts with sorting the cages into those which can continue in service, and those that need to be repaired. The next step is to remove the old wire mesh and have Jeff weld any broken frames. Then we are ready for the volunteers to come in and help us with the task of riveting the new wire mesh to the frames and put new plywood in the bases. This year we had a nice work load of 42 cages and 50 bases that needed some level of repair. The volunteers got right to work and made quick work of the job. In fact, the stack of cages was finished shortly after lunch leaving the volunteers more time in the afternoon for other pursuits like a short ice fishing trip.
In keeping with hatchery tradition the staff at Genoa NFH treated the volunteers to a lunch of hamburgers with all the trimmings. It is a small price to pay for the amount of work this dedicated group of volunteers was able to accomplish for us in such a short amount of time. We look forward to putting the cages to good use, and we know our friends will be ready next winter to put the damaged cages back together.