Mora National Fish Hatchery
Southwest Region


The campus consists of a 30,000-square-foot hatchery building, an office/maintenance garage building, an office/laboratory building, visitor’s center and four mobile homes. Support facilities consist of a 150,000-gallon reservoir, two concrete settling ponds, a fishing pond, 12,000-gallon propane tank and 900-gallon liquid oxygen tank, and a 400kw emergency generator.

Award winning water recirculation system

Mora NFH has three large independently operated recirculation systems and it is possible to produce a combination of warm, cool, and cold water fish at any given time.  Currently, all three systems are dedicated to the production of Gila trout. 

Three major water reuse systems supporting production and research are operational at the facility.  Major components of each system are three pumps for differing flow rates, a micro-screen drum filter to remove solid waste, propeller washed bead-filter for metabolic waste removal, and a stripping tower to increase dissolved oxygen and decrease carbon dioxide and metabolized nitrogen gas.  The systems also have heat exchangers to warm the water when necessary and UV units to sterilize the water.  Solid wastes are directed to one of two settling basins.  All used water then travels through an earthen pond for final polishing to remove residual nutrients before entering the discharge line for the trip back to the well field.  Metering and release to the Mora River is the final step. 

Isolation Systems

Five dedicated isolation systems of varying design and size are located throughout the station.  These naturalistic rearing units are designed to safely hold wild fish without the contamination risk to the hatchery and provide as close to a natural setting as possible.

Naturalistic Rearing

The Mora NFH receives wild fish for incorporation into the captive broodstock. This process prevents genetic drift that may otherwise occur in a hatchery setting. These wild fish are placed in naturalistic rearing and poly-cultural systems. The systems are designed to provide as much of a natural system as possible. Tanks are lined with rocky substrate, artificial cover, and even fish that co-occur in the wild, desert and Sonoran suckers. The systems are designed to have round deep tanks that replicate pools and shallow long rectangular tanks that mimic riffles. This allows the fish to determine their favored habitat. In addition to the naturalized rearing environment, the fish are feed a live diet of insects as well as supplementation with formulated feed to increase their amino acid and vitamin uptake.

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Last updated: December 10, 2014