The National Hydropower Association recently announced that the new Niagara Springs white sturgeon hatchery has been awarded its 2021 Outstanding Stewards of America’s Waters. The award is in the category of Recreational, Environmental and Historical Enhancement.
The Niagara Springs hatchery, located south of Wendell, is a partnership between Idaho Fish and Game and Idaho Power Company. The hatchery, which came online in 2021, is designed to provide additional fishing opportunity to anglers who enjoy fishing for these native fish in the middle sections of the Snake River where natural production is low, and to build sturgeon populations so that additional reaches of the Snake River will have naturally reproducing populations.
Juvenile white sturgeon raised at the Niagara Springs sturgeon hatchery
The new hatchery has an annual goal of rearing 2,500 sturgeon for release into the Snake River.
“The sturgeon facility has us working in a partnership with Idaho Power unlike any of our other hatchery facilities” according to Kevin Kincaid, Niagara Springs Hatchery Manager, “with our other hatcheries we have an owner-operator relationship, but with the sturgeon facility we have a true partnership, which brings with it an excellent working relationship. We are honored to share in this award with Idaho Power Company.”
Juvenile white sturgeon reared in tanks at the Niagara Springs sturgeon hatchery
The Department’s main role at the hatchery is to receive naturally-spawned sturgeon eggs that Idaho Power Company collects in the stretch of the Snake River between Bliss and C.J. Strike where the native population is healthy. Once the eggs are brought into the hatchery, Fish and Game and Idaho Power Company biologists sort and pick the eggs, and those that are viable are incubated, hatched, reared and ultimately stocked in particular reaches of the Snake River from just below Shoshone Falls to Steck Park located at the upper-reaches of Brownlee Reservoir. The only reach of river that does not receive hatchery sturgeon is the Bliss to C.J. Strike reach, and that is to maintain genetic diversity of the natural spawning population where the egg collection occurs.
“We’re excited to extend our relationship with Idaho Fish and Game to this new hatchery, which we believe will greatly enhance the white sturgeon population in the Snake River. The National Hydropower Association’s stewardship award is a great acknowledgment of this project, which is the result of 30 years of working to support this iconic native fish” said Stuart Rosenberger, Idaho Power Hatchery Program Supervisor.
For more information about the Niagara Springs sturgeon and steelhead hatchery contact the Magic Valley Regional Office at (208) 324-4359 or visit www.idahopower.com/fish.