Fish hatchery improvements begin in Thompson

Michigan DNR photo A photographic rendering shows the construction changes at the Thompson State Hatchery in Schoolcraft County.

THOMPSON — With a 2023 state general fund budget appropriation of $30 million, six Michigan Department of Natural Resources fish hatcheries are being improved by updating outdated and aging infrastructure. They include Upper Peninsula fish hatcheries in Thompson and Marquette.

Several of the sites have only seen limited updates or upgrades since the late 1970s -facilities and equipment pushing 50 years old. I think about my own body at 50 and often wonder when my body parts are going to fail.

The Thompson State Fish Hatchery in Schoolcraft County produces steelhead and Chinook salmon for stocking in Michigan waters. Thompson is also home to a state-of-the-art cool-water facility that supports walleye and muskellunge rearing programs.

In 2017, the Thompson hatchery was expanded to include a cool-water facility and pond rearing complex as part of a capital outlay package. An updated automated fish-feeding system was also installed in the outdoor steelhead rearing complex at this time. The 2023 capital outlay package included many needed upgrades to the cold-water facility.

Thompson is slated to have a new truck storage building built in 2024 at the cool-water facility to house fish-stocking vehicles and various fish-rearing equipment used at the new facility. Resurfacing concrete in the production raceways and indoor rearing units should vastly improve fish quality and health in 2025.

Additionally, improving hatchery insulation and dehumidification as part of updating HVAC systems will improve energy-efficiency efforts. Finally in 2026, the cold-water facility will be completely repaved, and the cool-water facility will be partially paved.

The Thompson hatchery will also be provided $3.5 million for the upgrades.

The Marquette hatchery is slated to get a new roof on the hatchery building and a new energy-efficient boiler, as well as updated heating, ventilation and air conditioning controls in 2024. A new brood-isolation building will be built to replace the current crumbling structure. Leveling of settling concrete around the facility to improve accessibility will cap off the 2025 projects. Finally, in 2026, the facility will be completely repaved.

Arctic grayling arrive at the Marquette State Fish Hatchery in 2020.

The facility is expected to receive $3.5 million for its improvements.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $2.99/week.

Subscribe Today