$1.9 million hatchery project set for fall

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

New flood gates, pipeline into hatchery being installed

The Roaring River State Park’s spring pool will offer a different scenery this fall, as a $1.9 million project at the roaring River Hatchery will replace flood gates and the pipeline into the hatchery.

Paul Spurgeon, manager of the Roaring River Hatchery, which is under the umbrella of the Missouri Department of Conservation, said the project will replace all flood gates in the spring pool, the pipeline into the hatchery and a traveling screen will be installed to catch debris from the pool before it enters the hatchery.

“This project will involve draining the spring pool and drying up the hatchery,” Spurgeon said. “Our flood gates were installed in 2005, and we experienced some failure because of the aluminum used. It was not compatible, so the water was eating it up. The new gates will be made of stainless steel.”

The gates are located at the two falls, where the spring pool drains into the river, as well as one at the head of the spring.

Spurgeon said the concrete pipeline will be replaced with a PVC pipeline, which will allow for the traveling screen to be used.

“Junction boxes and pumps will be replaced as well, and all that’s necessary because of the screen going in,” he said.

Spurgeon said during the project, the spring pool will be nearly empty.

“Obviously, we can’t turn off the spring,” he said. “But, we will pull the gates out and that will send 6-8 feet of the pool out, and construction workers will divert some water and maybe even pump some out.”

The spring pool, which is off limits to fishing, is long known for housing some of the largest lunkers at the trout park. Their future is up in the air.

“We are unsure what we’ll be doing with the fish in the pool,” Spurgeon said. “We think they may be able to stay in the diverted area, but we may have to move them. We’re hoping to keep those big fish in there.”

The project is scheduled to begin Sept. 1, but Spurgeon said people may not notice any work until October. The project, he said, would not affect normal stocking at the season’s end.

“We will hold fish on site and continue to stock like normal,” he said. “The catch and release season is also expected to go as normal.”

Spurgeon said the project will be done in phases, and the hatchery hopes to have its water back up and running by March 2019, but screen work will continue until June 2019.

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