The Farlington Fish Hatchery opens a new biodiversity center after nearly a decade of planning and construction.
This building is the first host to a new kind of aquatic research in Southeast Kansas.
“This facility came about as a result years of concern of how can we use fish culture to restore species that are in trouble. We have a great track record of improving sport fishing through our hatchery programs, and this is an opportunity to take it to the next level,” says Doug Nygren with the Kansas Department Wildlife Parks & Tourism.
Now open for research is the Kansas Aquatic Biodiversity Center, an addition to the Farlington Fish Hatchery. Here, workers will breed native fish species to be reintroduced into bodies of water where they’ve been harmed or killed by humans or natural means.
“So we’re going to be working with mussels and minnows and darters and things like that that have had issues in the wild with population,” says Dan Mosier II, Farlington Fish Hatchery Manager.
It consists of a pond water source, a lab, several tanks that mimic natural streams, and a quarantine area for harmed or sick species.
“Part of the key to this restoration is to try to avoid any of those animals becoming completely extinct obviously, or becoming endangered enough that they’re put on a federal endangered list,” says Dan Mosier II.
Breeders will work directly with biologists in the space.
“The next level will be to work with the biologists that are putting the recovery plans together and identifying what can be done to reverse this decline in these species,” says Doug Nygren.
They’ll also rescue aquatic animals during emergencies.
“If there’s a spill, a chemical spill on a river, we can rally the forces, get in downstream to that, and pull animals out and move them here temporarily until that spill has been cleaned up and put them back where they belong,” says Dan Mosier II.
Funds for the center came from natural resource damage funds. In other words, from the individuals or companies who have done damage to natural resources and had to pay for it.