Newsroom Midwest Region

Regional team earns Department of Energy award for Great River Road Interpretive Center

November 6, 2019

The Great River Road Interpretive Center
Great River Road Interpretive Center at the Genoa National Fish Hatchery in Wisconsin. Photo by USFWS.

We at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service believe it is important to be a leader in energy efficiency. The Great River Road Interpretive Center at the Genoa National Fish Hatchery in Genoa, Wisconsin is a recent example of our dedication to showcasing quality public facilities that utilize energy efficient technology.

On June 1, 2018 the Great River Road Interpretive Center opened its doors to visitors for the first time. The interpretive center garnered media attention for its exhibits highlighting significant regional histories including the pearl button industry and the Battle of Bad Axe, but local newspapers and television stations were not the only ones to take notice of the new facility. 

The Federal Energy and Water Management Program, an office of the U.S. Department of Energy, recognizes individuals, groups and agencies for their outstanding contributions in the areas of energy efficiency, water conservation and the use of advanced and renewable energy technologies at federal facilities while also advancing federal agency missions.

On October 29, 2019 a regional team consisting of Doug Aloisi, Mike Brickley, Erin McFadden, Meaghan Nelson and Kurt Schilling was recognized by the Federal Energy Management Program for their collective work on the Great River Road Interpretive Center.

The 5,000 square-foot interpretive center is LEED Silver rated with an innovative geothermal heating, ventilation and air conditioning system that utilizes process water straight from the hatchery. The building exterior was constructed using native limestone and reclaimed barn wood. It is a model of a high-performance sustainable building with a grid-tied solar power system, low-flow fixtures and water efficient landscaping which conserve about 36,900 gallons of water annually.

The interpretive center plays a major role in educating hatchery visitors on the importance of the Mississippi River and the work of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The interpretive center offers visitors opportunities to learn about the flora and fauna of the Upper Mississippi River. Educational exhibits go beyond the story of the hatchery and feature significant histories of the area.

Hatchery activities and amenities include a wetland and native prairie boardwalk with an outdoor classroom area, a walking trail and map of the facility and culture buildings housing 24 species of fish, freshwater mussels and amphibians. Visitors can observe up to 13 species of fish that are reared on site and a number of mussel species that are common to the Upper Mississippi River Basin.

The construction of this award winning interpretive center was partially funded by a National Scenic Byways grant, making Genoa the first national fish hatchery to be awarded Department of Transportation, Federal Highway - National Scenic Byways funds.

The center is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. There is no fee for entry.

Learn more about the Genoa National Fish Hatchery and plan your visit!