95.3 / 88.5 FM Grand Rapids and 95.3 FM Muskegon
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Fish hatcheries get major upgrades to 50+-year-old infrastructure

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has $30 million from the state to fund long overdue improvements at its six fish hatcheries

Over the next three summers, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources will overhaul outdated, aging infrastructure at six fish production facilities.

Many haven’t had any major work done in decades on things like mechanical parts, roofs, concrete, electrical and HVAC systems.

“We’re talking 50-plus years old, and a lot of these things are wearing out and the further we go the more likely we’re going to have a failure and what we’re trying to avoid is a major catastrophic failure.”

Aaron Switzer is the Fish Production Program Manager and says if you can think of it, it’s probably being updated.

A common theme among the projects is energy efficiency.

“It's time to get into the 2020’s and have HVAC systems we can have more control over and are a lot more energy efficient.”

Another focus is updating technology, all in the name of healthier fish.

One upgrade is automated feeders.

“We can look at a computer program and walk around with an iPad and watch what these feeders are feeding and hone that in.”

Wolf Lake Hatchery in Van Buren County will get the most funding at $11 million for improvements.

It has a popular visitors’ center and Switzer encourages Michigan families to visit even during construction.

“Kids love fish hatcheries. If folks can watch their steps and don’t mind our mess, we’re going to remain open where we can so folks can get in and see fish.”

Related Content