Fish hatchery puts plan in place in case of another drought

DUNDEE, TX - The state fish hatchery in Dundee is home to millions of fish, but five years ago it looked different.

"Water levels in the lake did get low enough that they couldn't pull water back up here to the hatchery," said hatchery manager, John Paret.

The drought forced the hatchery to move a large amount of fish to other hatcheries in the state.

The facility would be open, but barely operating.

Tom Lang is the district fisheries supervisor at Texas Parks and Wildlife.

"When we have droughts, if there is not enough water supply to take care of all the needs that are out there, including the needs for our hatcheries to be able to grow fish, that does affect it," said Lang.

Paret has been working in fish hatcheries for more than 20 years.

He joined Dundee in 2016 as the new manager of the plant.

A threat of another drought made the hatchery have a plan.

"If it goes dry, there is not enough water," said Paret.  "We do not want to have fish on site and risk the chance of killing them."

The hatchery can lower the risk of closing again by raising the water levels.

"We should now be able to go down another 5 to 7 feet," said Paret.

It is important to keep track of the amount of water they use and the number of fish they add.

"If we knew we were going to have water issues, we would try to not keep any more fish on site than we could take care of," said Paret.

Lang is prepared to handle any problems that a new drought could bring.

"We take things as they come and plan for the worst," said Lang.  "We try to make the best fisheries that are out there."

"We are trying to move forward and do things that will ensure that the hatchery will stay open, said Paret.  "There is a commitment to the facility.  We have other projects that are going on now.  I feel that things will only get better."

The Dundee Fish Hatchery re-opened in 2016 after 4 years of limited operations.

Copyright 2018 RNN Texoma All Rights Reserved