Leadville Fish Hatchery Adds New Building
Did you see it going up last summer? Right from the start you knew it was going to be something different. Part of the foundation was square and deep. New hot springs? You wish!
And the location seemed a bit fishy right from the first brick! But if all goes as planned, come this summer, friends and fans will at least be able to peak in the window of the new building at the Leadville National Fish Hatchery.
“What we’re building,” explains hatchery manager Ed Stege, “is a two-room fish isolation building.”
Construction on the project started in June of 2017. And now that it’s complete on the outside, the work begins on the inside. In this exclusive time-lapse Leadville Today video, Stege explains the type of work the new building will allow fish biologists to conduct.
Now that the “isolation” building is complete, the next step is to install and plumb all of the fish tanks and then by this Spring they will bring the first cut-throat strain into the new facility.
“What this will allow me to do,” continues Stege, “is to bring in either fish or fish eggs or any other aquatic organism from the world, that has not been fully disease-tested.” From there, the wildlife is raised up until it passes a fish health inspection, and can then be moved out into the general hatchery population. It allows the Leadville hatchery to become further involved in developing important cutthroat brood stock and other native fish species in Colorado. How cool is that?! Once again Leadville leads the way!
“We can’t do anything with wild fish in the hatchery, unless we first try to do something with them in isolation,” the long-time local fish hatchery manager said, emphasizing the importance of making sure, “I’m not bringing a fish disease into the facility.”
The new building will have public viewing windows on the east side. However, the general public will not be allowed inside the building.
While the functionality of the new building is interesting, the design and attention to detail on this project certainly stands out. The intention was to integrate and match the historic landmark – the original hatchery building – that overlooks the new, smaller addition as well as the established runways located on the grounds.
The original hatchery building was complete in 1890, built by architects L.J. Hunt and John Gorham. For many of Leadville’s Pioneer days, it was the only thing standing in the area. Since then, it has become an integral part of the Leadville community, from the student outings to take advantage of the impressive educational tours the facility provides, to the miles of recreational trails that have been established and maintained, in part thanks to the Friends of the National Leadville Fish Hatchery. In 1980, the original building was officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
It’s beautiful sandstone brick is stunning and the white trim makes its deep red color stand out all the more. The original building which turns 128 years old this year, stands as a testament to its solid construction, considering the many winters it has weathered in its home located inside the Mount Massive Wilderness area.
The Leadville National Fish Hatchery was established in 1889 and is one of 70 hatcheries in the National Fish Hatchery System. It is managed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.
There’s little doubt that a lot of effort was put into mimicking that same stone material and design in the new building. A job well-done for all. So be sure to come and see it for yourself at the Leadville National Fish Hatchery.
A Visual Tour of Leadville Fish Hatchery & Nature Trail
Friends of Hatchery Meets June 16
The Annual Members’ Meeting for the Friends of the Leadville National Fish Hatchery is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Saturday, June 16, at the hatchery. Weather permitting, the group will meet under the pavilion in the picnic ground up by Evergreen Lake. If you need to drive up to the picnic ground, please do so; otherwise, park below and walk up. They will be having a potluck breakfast/brunch with the meeting, so if you care to please bring something to share. The Friends will provide juice, coffee, and water.
During the meeting the Friends will discuss the budget for 2018, talk about our plans for improvements to hatchery grounds, have a vote on board members and solicit new ideas from members. Come and contribute your voice to your Friends group. Following the members’ meeting, the board will meet to select officers. All members are invited and welcome at the board meeting. For questions, call Board Secretary Judy Cole at 719-293-1829 and leave a message.