Logo is a black and white drawing of a humpback chub in a canyon background

Palisade High School Endangered Fish Hatchery Partnership

National Park Service biologist Melissa Trammel displaying a humpback chub captured with hoop nets on the Little Colorado River in the Grand Canyon
An illustration of a razorback sucker. photo copyright Joseph R. Tomelleri

Student Cultured Razorback Sucker Stocked Into The Colorado River

Where Have They Been Sighted ?

2024 Palisade High School graduates Kale Potter and Kiera Stephen volunteering and interning with U.S Fish and Wildlife Service collecting information on endangered razorback sucker while conducting native fish surveys on the Colorado River near Grand Junction, Colorado (June, 2024). The fish in the top left photo was cultured by Palisade High School students (released (May 2024) and was recaptured roughly 65 miles down river near Cisco, Utah.

State of Colorado Department of Natural Resources

Project Background

Beginning in 2018, Palisade High School students raised an impressive $40,000 through various fundraising events and a slew of community donations which was used 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 100% water-reuse 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. Yearly, roughly 250 1-inch endangered razorback sucker are transferred to Palisade High School from Ouray National Fish Hatchery-Grand Valley Unit in Grand Junction Colorado. Once in the on-campus hatchery, the young rare fish are cultured by students for roughly one year until they are released into their native habitat in the Colorado River near the High School. This was the fourth year of operationat the student operated facility and after this years fish release, over 1000 endangered razorback sucker cultured at the PHS Fish Hatchery will have been released into the Colorado River in Palisade, Colorado. While this isn’t the only endangered fish hatchery operated by high school students, it is one of a very small handful in the United States. The partnership provides the Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program a unique opportunity to interact with local community stakeholders all the while helping to inspire the next generation of potential fisheries scientists, as well as boost populations of these very rare fish in the upper Colorado River. This unique grassroots partnership can serve as a blueprint for other communities to follow.

Student Aquaculture in Action

Thank You Sponsors!!!

Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program
Mesa County Valley School District 51
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
Alpine Bank
Grand Junction Lions Club
Palisade Sunrise Rotary Club
Western Colorado Community Foundation
High Country Gas and Supply
Clifton Water
Whitewater Hill Vineyards

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work!

“Plans to protect air and water, wilderness and wildlife,are in fact plans to protect man

Stewart Udall (January 30, 1920 – March 20, 2010)

Secretary of the Interior Udall played a key role in the enactment of environmental laws such as the Clear Air, Water Quality and Clean Water Restoration Acts and Amendments, the Wilderness Act of 1964, the Endangered Species Preservation Act of 1966, the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965, the Solid Waste Disposal Act of 1965, the National Trail System Act of 1968, and Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968.