When there is a fish hatchery involved it is clear that there needs to be a secure supply of water but when it comes to the Garrison Dam National Fish Hatchery, there have been temporary waterlines and pumps in place for a number of years. That year there was a problem and the holding pond was washed out leaving the hatchery without sufficient water.
Reports are in that there is now a new plan in place and over the last week there were tests carried out to check that the new pipeline worked. The old pipelines can then be replaced and this is all thanks to The North Dakota Game and Fish Department who supplied the large pumps that will take the water to the outdoor ponds.
Hatchery Manager Rob Holm said “This is a way to maintain a constant water supply, especially to solve the water issues for our east ponds. For most of our production it is pretty critical.”
There are 40 ponds at the hatchery and the thanks to the new installation, water will be brought in from the Missouri River and makes sure that there is a much deeper intake than was allowed with the previous pipeline. It is also warmer water and this gives the hatchery another bonus.
Rob Holm explains that “We save money on heating water. Another problem was solved because our outdoor ponds were never warm enough. Warmer water was appealing to get fish up and swimming. Now we have secured both sides of the hatchery with a good water source.”
He went on to explain that the young fish will grow more quickly and therefore can be released at a bigger size. There is also more plankton than was found with the Lake Sakakawea water and it also means that it is possible to secure the pipeline if a nuisance is found to be present.
He continued to explain about the need for a secure source and said “there was a huge cost going into it, about a half-million dollars, but over the long haul we have a secure water supply. I think it was a good investment.”
The new source that it is believed will be operational soon was contracted by the Game and Fish Department in the state while the money that was needed for mitigation costs was arranged by The Corps of Engineers.
Holm concludes by saying “The pipeline was pressure tested Wednesday night and was full of water Thursday.”