Propagation and Genetics

The video above was created by Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (UDWR). It is a drone overview of Wahweap Utah State Fish Hatchery. Wahweap grows endangered bonytail for the Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program. The video shows fish in growout ponds, buildings and some of the geography of southern Utah near Lake Powell.

Hatchery-produced fish are stocked into rivers and streams when populations fall below self-sustainability. Program partners work together to maximize genetic diversity and continuously improve techniques so stocked fish are more likely to survive in the wild.

Pulling a seine through an aquaculture pond at Wahweep Fish Hatchery while harvesting bonytail

Bonytail are raised in grow-out ponds and harvested using seine nets. They are measured, tagged, transported to the river, and released.

Hatchery personnel work with geneticists to insure that the captive broodstocks are are as genetically diverse as the wild populations.

A close-up of a larval fish viewed with a microscope.

“The Colorado River recovery programs have become a national model for collaborative species recovery efforts. Here in one of the nation’s fastest growing areas, we continue to work successfully with a broad array of partners to secure the future of the river’s endangered native fishes, while meeting the water needs of communities across the river’s watershed. As the impacts of a changing climate and human populations continue to grow, these partnerships will become increasingly vital to sustaining our natural heritage in the Colorado River basin.”

Sally Jewell

Former Secretary of the Interior, 2014, Department of the Interior

Locations of Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Hatcheries