Neosho National Fish Hatchery Conserving the nature of America

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Conserving the Nature of America

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.


Rainbow Trout Mitigation

Rainbow trout in a hatchery tank
Rainbow trout. Photo by USFWS.

Currently, the hatchery utilizes about 2 million gallons per day of gravity flow spring water at 54-62°F annual temperature to raise rainbow trout, in many of the same ways as it has for over 130 years. The springs allow for the production of 100,000 pounds of fish and generate about 15 million dollars back into Missouri’s state economy.

Pallid Sturgeon

Hatchery staff holding a juvenile pallid sturgeon
Juvenile pallid sturgeon. Photo by USFWS.

Neosho National Fish Hatchery contributes to pallid sturgeon species recovery. Endangered pallid sturgeon are bred and the young reared for one year to a length of at least 12 inches before being tagged and released into the lower Missouri River at several different locations where small, lingering populations of these fish still exist.

Endangered Topeka Shiners

Hatchery staff holding two topeka shiners
Topeka shiners. Photo by USFWS.

As the first federal facility to work with this rare minnow, Neosho provides space for breeding and rearing in raceways. Our first year of this program, in 2015, produced more than 2200 shiners that were released into the wild in northern Missouri prairie streams.

Endangered Ozark Cavefish

Ozark cavefish underwater
Ozark cavefish. Photo by USFWS.

The hatchery also protects the habitat of the endangered Ozark cavefish, which inhabits one of the springs supplying the hatchery with water. A camera inside the spring box provides live pictures of the Ozark cavefish in the hatchery Visitors Center.

Endangered Mussels

Fatmucket mussels in a hatchery tank
Fatmucket mussels at the hatchery. Photo by USFWS.

The hatchery provides recovery efforts for threatened or endangered native mussels through partnerships with Missouri State University and the Missouri Department of Conservation. We are currently breeding and rearing fatmucket mussels and soon, the endangered Neosho mucket.

Host Fish

In order to provide restoration efforts for native mussels, the hatchery must provide the mussel’s host fish which aids in dispersing the mussel’s eggs. Currently, we raise two species of fish, freshwater drum and logperch, to serve as hosts for mussel restoration activities, but more species may be raised as we continue to build and grow the mussel program. We also raise orange-spotted sunfish as a commensal breeding partner for our shiner program.