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Construction on Loa Fish Hatchery's new facility has officially begun

A 3D rendering of the Loa Fish Hatchery 2027. It is a modern/eco efficient looking building with raised roofs and several cars around it
Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
A render of the Loa Fish Hatchery as it should appear in 2027

The Loa Fish Hatchery, located in Fremont, was originally built in 1936. It was last reconstructed in 1961 and closed in 2014.

“It historically was our best producing hatchery. The temperature is right in the perfect range for rainbow trout and a lot of the trout species,” said Roger Mellethin.

Mellethin, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Fish Culture Coordinator, said this closing happened due to an infestation by the New Zealand mud snail, an invasive species that can compete with native invertebrates, thus reducing or even eliminating the food source for fish in streams and lakes.

“And because the New Zealand mud snail can close up in its shell and pass through a fish's intestinal track alive, we don't feel comfortable stocking fish that are raised around in these particular snails," said Mellethin. "We tried for several years to purge the snails out of the Loa Hatchery, and were unable to get rid of them due to the aging infrastructure.”

So a decision was made to reconstruct it to deal with the mud snails and other threats.

“All of our piping will have clean outs where we can chemically treat the pipes if we do get an invasive species or prohibited pathogen that we need to remove,” Mellethin said.

The new facility will also include technologies to increase production and reduce its environmental impact.

“We are going to put oxygen generators on site and we will add oxygen to the water supply," Mellethin said. "We will also have numerous things to help us improve water quality leaving the hatchery — baffles, quiescent zones — that allow us to settle out settleable solids and remove them rapidly to reduce the phosphorus load in the stream below.”

According to Mellethin, it will be able to cost effectively produce about 350,000 pounds of fish annually while also returning clean water to the nearby Fremont River.