New National Fish Hatchery Opens Dec. 9
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Neosho National Fish Hatchery (NFH) at 520 E. Park Street in Neosho will have its grand opening ceremony on December 9. The public is invited for the formal ceremony beginning at 9 a.m. Ribbon cutting will be at 10:30 a.m. followed by formal tours and lunch. An open house will run from noon to 5 p.m.
Located in Neosho since 1888, it is the nation’s oldes operational federal fish hatchery, known for its efforts in pallid sturgeon recovery and onsite study of the federally threatened Ozark cavefish.
The 9,200 sq. ft. visitor center, whose construction began in July 2009, is expected to accommodate more than 100,000 visitors per year, enhance environmental education and interpretation opportunities, and generate economic benefits for Newton County and surrounding areas.
The prior facility could accommodate only about 45,000 visitors annually. The new construction will convert the visitor center into an energy-efficient, LEED-certified facility, which will include installation of photovoltaic solar panels. Seating capacity will be increased to facilitate student groups and other visitors to the hatchery.
The Neosho National Fish Hatchery faced possible closure in the 1980s. The new visitor center will enhance community education about aquatic resources, and at the same time enhance the energy-efficiency of daily hatchery operations.
The hatchery raises endangered pallid sturgeon for recovery efforts in the lower Missouri River and rainbow trout for stocking in Lake Taneycomo. The hatchery also supports conservation of the endangered Ozark cavefish and restoration of native mussels.
(U.S. Fish and Wildlife news releases 2009/2010.)