What’s Happening at the Hatchery?

The Natchitoches National Fish Hatchery recently released the biggest snapping turtle currently at on site after it received a bill of good health from veterinarians at the Alexandria Zoo. The turtle was then released into waters within Lake Ofelia National Wildlife Refuge. Genetic testing was completed earlier this year to show that this turtle had a high likelihood of originating from this area of Louisiana. It was noted that as soon as the turtle was set near the edge of the water he didn’t even look back and moved quickly into his new home.
The Natchitoches National Fish Hatchery is a warm water station currently involved in spawning, hatching, and rearing young fish (fingerlings), turtles, and mussels. The various species are raised to a size and age which provide them with the best chance of surviving in the wild; a valuable tool in the Service’s mission of species restoration & recovery as well as enhancing recreational fishing. The hatchery is also involved in research projects for these various species including tagging and monitoring for tracking the species in the wild, fish feed trials, and improving culture and spawning techniques.
The Hatchery also has 53 outdoor ponds, averaging .8 acres in size. There is no designated walking trail, but you are welcome to walk on the levees for birdwatching, wildlife viewing, exercise, or to just enjoy being outdoors. Natchitoches National Fish Hatchery is an eBird hotspot with 114 individuals species noted, come see if you can find some more.

Stop by Natchitoches National Fish Hatchery to experience its free, self guided, Aquarium exhibit. Group or individual tours are available upon request. There are also volunteer opportunities for all ages, including: kids, teens and young adults, seniors, families and groups, such as an organization or company.

Photos Credit: Lindsey Adams and Emmet Guy, USFWS.