The Hotchkiss National Fish Hatchery's Quonset hut is finally getting a new roof. Hatchery manager Adam Mendoza said the new cover, which is anticipated to be installed sometime this fall, should be able to withstand the strong spring winds that blow through the canyon and that damaged the 90,000 square foot structure in March 2014.
The cover is intended to protect rainbow trout from predators. The facility raises upwards of 750,000 fish annually for stocking in lakes and reservoirs in Colorado and New Mexico.
The hatchery is also continuing recovery efforts from a bout last spring with bacterial kidney disease, which was carried from another hatchery in a delivery of cutthroat trout eggs. A school of sentinel fish are being tested for the disease and will be re-tested next February, said Mendoza. If tests are negative, the facility will be designated disease-free and operations can return to normal. The hatchery nursery has already received 200,000 rainbow trout eggs. The eggs have hatched and are doing well, said Mendoza. They anticipate another 500,000 eggs before December.