Wolf Lake Fish Hatchery
The facility started operations in 1927 with the purpose of artificial breeding and rearing of fish. One may ask why fish numbers do not deplete despite the continuous fishing in areas like Michigan that earn much revenue from fishing. This facility produces fish for stocking the lakes, streams, and rivers of the state. Transformations have been made on this hatchery since its establishment to accommodate the latest hatching machinery, and more expansions are expected in 2018. The facility operates under the Department of Natural Resources of the state of Michigan whose main objective is preservation of natural resources which are used as recreation facilities thus creating income for the state.
The hatchery headed by Martha Wolgamood, the area manager, Matt Hughes is the hatchery’s biologist and others who include technicians, maintenance supervisors, fish culture technicians, transportation biologist, a state worker, maintenance mechanics and a trades helper. On a need basis, the hatchery hires fisheries assistant and employees who assist in fish marking (Michigan Department of Natural Resources, 2017). The facility shares a secretary with other three facilities in the region. Wolf Lake Fish Hatchery outsources the fish health services from an Aquatic Animal Health Lab which whose base is at the Michigan State University.
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Equipment used at the hatchery include the fish weir for harvesting the eggs of the salmon and steelhead fish breed for further breeding. The fish pass allows fish to migrate back to their spawning grounds thus maintaining the fish population. The clarifier collects fish waste and restores the aquatic systems to natural health before getting in the ponds. A specially designed vehicle known as the Petersons stocking unit is used for fish transportation. A polyurethane foam insulates the vehicle to maintain adequate temperatures for fish.
The hatchery produces a variety of fish species however they are classified as either cold water or cool water species. The former refers to fish that the hatchery breeds for stocking in either the Great Lakes waters or for cooperative groups while the cool water species are those that can be stocked in either inland waters or the Great Lakes waters. Cold water species kept at the facility include 234,477 chinook salmon spring fingerlings and 459,062 steelhead fall fingerlings trout. The walleye muskegon is the mostly stocked cool water species at 13,155,600. Other cool water species include 53,145 fall and 6,306 spring fingerlings of the Great Lakes muskellunge type.
The Wolf Lake Fish Hatchery relies on grants and partnerships assistance for its continuous existence. One their partners is the Michigan Muskie Alliance a group which conserves the Muskie fishery based in Michigan. This team supports the hatchery through financial assistance, volunteer activities and educational exhibits. Other groups that partner with that hatchery include the neighbouring Kalamazoo Nature Center, Audubon Society of Kalamazoo, Michigan Trout Unlimited and the Van Buren Conservation District. Others include state and recreational grants.
This hatchery and others contribute between $2.4 billion and $4.2 billion to the economy of the state through fish breeding, stocking and fish sporting activities. The facility creates employment opportunities and facilitates a balance in the ecosystem. Also, the hatchery has nature trails from which some wildlife such as birds and turtles are seen. The visitor centre teaches on the history of Great Lake Fisheries and fish ethics.
In conclusion, the Wolf Lake Fish Hatchery is a fantastic place where people should visit and learn more about breeding and rearing of fish for stocking the state’s lakes and rivers and how it contributes to the economic development of Michigan State. If not that enjoy the hiking through the nature trails spotting various birds species.
Michigan Department of Natural Resources. (2017). Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery. Retrieved from http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7-153-10364_52259_28277-22498–,00.html