Michael Gross, FWS
The Palisade High School Fish Hatchery, in partnership with Ouray National Fish Hatchery-Grand Valley Unit (Ouray NFH-GVU), filled the newly constructed on-campus recirculating aquaculture system in June 2020 with plans to bring in 250 razorback sucker mid-July. These endangered fish will be raised by students and released into the upper Colorado River in late spring 2021, immediately boosting populations of the highly depleted species, all while giving young science-minded high school students the opportunity to practice hands-on fish culture.
Beginning in 2018, Palisade High School students raised an impressive $40,000 through various fundraisers and a slew of community donations to upgrade an old storage building at the edge of campus, equipping it with all the essentials needed to facilitate the indoor aquaculture operation. The aquaculture system itself was purchased by the Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program and Bureau of Reclamation, and consists of three 235 gallon circular tanks, dual bag filters, ultraviolet filter, auxiliary biofilter and a 150 gallon sump tank.
Palisade High School students will operate the facility with guidance from Ouray NFH-GVU personnel. This project will give students the opportunity to learn a wide array of topics including: raising endangered fish, recirculating aquaculture, ichthyology, fish biology and much more, helping to foster the next generation of fisheries scientists and aquaculturists. Congratulations to the Palisade High School students, School District 51 and the Grand Valley community for all of the incredible support to make this happen.