Uvalde National Fish Hatchery
Southwest Region


channel catfish egg harvest collection
Channel catfish egg harvest collection. Credit: USFWS
channel catfish egg harvest
Channel catfish egg harvest. Credit: USFWS
channel catfish eggs
Channel catfish eggs. Credit: USFWS
razorback sucker
Razorback Sucker. Credit: USFWS
tagging razorback suckers
Tagging Razorback Suckers. Credit: USFWS
razorback sucker tagging
Razorback Sucker tagging. Credit: USFWS
Recording PIT tag data
Recording PIT tag data. Credit: USFWS
Recording PIT tag data
Recording PIT tag data. Credit: USFWS
visitor center
Visitor center. Credit: USFWS

Fish Rearing

The Uvalde NFH utilizes up to 50 outdoor ponds and numerous flow through structures (raceways) to captively rear several threatened and endangered species, and a recreational fish species. The hatchery rears and produces several hundreds of thousands of fish per year to meet various goals. One of those goals includes producing fish to secure long term protection for endangered and threatened species (recovery). The hatchery rears and stocks some of its species into native habitats in order to increase the numbers in the wild, thereby promoting recovery of the species. Some species are held on station to provide a “back up” population in case something happens to the wild populations. This method is referred to as a Refugia population and is done to promote the long-term survival of the species. Efforts are also made to produce and stock a non-protected species, the channel catfish, into various Federal, State, and Tribal waters for public recreational fishing opportunities. Currently, the Uvalde NFH is not utilizing all its ponds and has the capacity to expand with future conservation needs.

Water Supply

The Uvalde NFH utilizes green technology in any manner feasible to conduct its activities. The station incorporates solar panels as part of its high tech water supply system. The solar panels provide year- round power to vital components that provide life sustaining water to the species on station. The water is pumped from deep groundwater wells directly into ponds and raceways for aquaculture activities. No filtration is necessary and has a year-round temperature of 73°F. The water quality is monitored daily with state of the art equipment to ensure that the water quality meets the specific needs of the species.

Water Management

Water management is a critical component of the facilities activities. The station’s two deep groundwater wells provide all the necessary water to meet the station aquaculture needs. Once the water has been utilized for aquaculture purposes, the discharged water is not wasted. Some of this water is re-routed to large outdoor ponds that are used by numerous other wildlife species that occur in the area. The water being held in theses water retention ponds also provides a mechanism for the water to infiltrate back to the aquifer system. Any hatchery water that is not re-routed on station for wildlife use flows downstream and is utilized by local state water right users for various agriculture purposes, such as livestock and food crops.


Uvalde NFH cooperates with other Federal and State agencies to conduct research projects on threatened and endangered species to improve overall aquaculture techniques. This cooperation can be in the form of providing species for the study or by actively conducting study using the hatchery’s lab and equipment. The information received is passed on to other facilities to improve aquaculture methodologies and overall survival for the species.

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Last updated: December 10, 2014