Kootenay Trout Hatchery celebrates 50 years
The Kootenay Trout Hatchery went into production in 1966 and is responsible for stocking 150 lakes in the east and west Kootenay regions.
In addition, the hatchery provides fish to the Clearwater and Summerland Trout Hatcheries for stocking interior and northern regions of the province. The facility plays a key role in the white sturgeon recovery initiatives for the upper Columbia River population. The Kootenay hatchery was expanded for the sturgeon initiatives and currently has facilities to accommodate adult holding, spawning, and juvenile rearing.
The Kootenay and Clearwater Trout Hatcheries are the only two facilities that stock kokanee salmon in B.C.
The Freshwater Fisheries Society has invested approximately $1 million in renovations to the pond building to replace older-style concrete raceways with round fibreglass tanks and to install new AeroBoost Airlift Pumps. The society developed ‘airlift’ pump technology to revitalize and recirculate hatchery water, cutting both energy and water consumption. On average, tanks with the new pumps can save about 65% of the water required compared to older, traditional tank set-ups. The improvement in tank design also allows for the current to keep waste moving out of the system constantly with the added bonus that hatchery staff spend less time cleaning.
The increased water velocity ensures fitter, healthier fish. With better access to feed throughout the pond, there is less variance in fish sizes, and improved feed conversion rates. The result is a more consistent, better conditioned, and healthier fish. Dollars saved from pumping water more efficiently, the amount of food fish require, and even staff time to care for them, in turn give back resources that can be put into other projects. Less water pumped benefits the environment and also adds up to a very large savings in well and pumping system maintenance. Water usage is expected to drop from about 2.5 billion litres used in the pond building per year to about 0.5 billion litres as a result this project. The hatchery should save about 264,000 kilowatt hours per year of electricity, or about 22% of previous electrical consumption as a result of less pumping and warming of water.
Pictured above: Andrew Wilson, Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett and Owen Schoenberger during the Kootenay Trout Hatchery 50th birthday celebrations April 23. Photo submitted