Neosho National Fish Hatchery Considers Adding A New Endangered - KOAM TV 7

Neosho National Fish Hatchery Considers Adding A New Endangered Fish To Facility

  A couple hundred "Topeka Shiners" could soon take up residence in the Four-States. Federal and State Level Officials from the Department of Conservation were in the area today, to discuss breeding the endangered fish, at the Neosho National Fish Hatchery.

"We're kind of jumping at the chance," said Jerry Wiechman of the Missouri Department of Conservation.
Wiechman is a Fishery Management Biologist with the Missouri Department of Conservation. He is one of a handful of State and Federal partners of the Neosho National Fish Hatchery in town to discuss bringing the endangered Topeka Shiner, a small Minnow like fish, to the facility.
"In terms of numbers, I have no idea, but the number of creeks or watersheds where they are found, is getting fairly small, and in Missouri like I say we only have two creeks that have them now," Wiechman said.
This Fish Hatchery already holds about 200,000 thousand fish of five different species. And with a proven track record of helping replenish two endangered species at the facility already,  it's Manager David Hendrix says the hatchery is up for adding a third.
"We want to be able to help, we don't want to jeopardize what we're doing already, but if we can secure what we're doing already, and be able to reach out and help again, then the hatchery becomes more efficient and that's what we're trying to do," Hendrix said.

If the meetings go well, there could be as many as a few hundred Topeka Shiners either on the Hatchery's outdoor race ways or in one of the outdoor ponds. And according to Hendrix with the space available, the cost involved would be as simple as retro-fitting existing facilities, which he says would likely be covered by grants from the department of conservation.

"Thus far it looks real good that we can," Hendrix said.
And as for Weichman, he says the Department is already over-seeing a similar project at another Missouri Hatchery, but that adding another facility increases the process of getting the endangered species up and back into the wild.

Tomorrow the Hatchery will host the Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, who will tour the facility for the first time. And on Saturday the Hatchery will host a it's Third Annual Veterans Fishing Derby (still "on" despite less than perfect weather forecasts). For more information, click here, for it's website.

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