Fish and Aquatic Conservation
Mountain-Prairie Region

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The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Fisheries Program in the Mountain-Prairie Region helps conserve, protect, and enhance aquatic resources and provides economically valuable recreational fishing to anglers across the country. The program comprises 12 National Fish Hatcheries; a National Fish Technology and National Fish Health Center; and 8 Fish and Wildlife Conservation Offices serving Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.


The Region’s National Fish Hatcheries produce millions of coldwater, coolwater, and warmwater game fish every year for stocking in public lakes, rivers, and streams. Hatchery-raised fish meet legally mandated "mitigation" requirements, compensating for fish losses caused by federal water projects and associated dams. The hatcheries also raise native fish and other aquatic wildlife to help restore populations in the wild and to support recovery of threatened and endangered species. Two of the Mountain-Prairie hatcheries – one in Ennis, Montana and the other in Saratoga, Wyoming – are part of the National Broodstock Program, providing disease-free and genetically sound eggs to dozens of states, tribes, other hatcheries, and research facilities. These eggs support production of millions of fish for recreational angling opportunities, species recovery and restoration, mitigation, tribal subsistence fishing, and other fisheries activities.


The Fish Technology Center and Fish Health Center, both located in Bozeman, Montana, assist the National Fish Hatcheries by improving aquatic species conservation techniques and methods for the benefit of state and federal agencies and tribes throughout the nation. The Centers’ work also includes fish nutrition studies and diet development, wild fish health surveys, and environmental threat management for issues such as whirling disease.

The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Offices throughout the Region support tribal fisheries and wildlife management programs, endangered species recovery, control of invasive aquatic species (such as mussels, snails, fish, etc.), and fish passage for native species, such as Colorado River fishes, cutthroat trout, bull trout, and pallid sturgeon, especially on private lands and streams.

News & Outreach

Kris Johnson of the Region 6 Fish & Aquatic Conservation program assists Michael McGimsey with calculations needed to determine the system volume and head pressure in their recirculating aquaculture system. The students in Compass Montessori's aquaponics curriculum needed to add a larger water pump to more effectively raise tilapia and lettuce for the school's kitchen. Credit - Joanne Grady/FWS

Future Hatchery Staff?


Compass Montessori School is a non-traditional school in Golden, Colorado. One of its distinguishing features is Farm School. This unique middle school program is based on student-driven learning. Farm School operates as a small village with its own micro-economy and economic council with students learning in one of eight real world occupations each semester. Students in the "Aquaponics" occupation rear tilapia and lettuce for the school kitchen in student-built recirculating aquaculture systems in addition to learning about geology and water systems.


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Last updated: July 21, 2014