D.C. Booth Hatchery in Spearfish reopens - KOTA Territory News

D.C. Booth Hatchery in Spearfish reopens

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Park ranger Mitch Adams was the only worker at the D.C. Booth Hatchery in Spearfish during the government shutdown.

"Got kind of lonely here up by myself for 11 days. Nobody to talk to but the fish," said Adams.

Now that everyone is back clean up efforts can start in the aftermath of this month's blizzard.

"We lost a lot of trees, a lot of branches. But nothing landed on buildings," said Adams.

It's hard to get an exact count as everyone is just today getting back to work, the hatchery lost between 500 and 1,000 rainbow trout because of the blizzard.

"The volume of snow was too much for the creek. The creek plugged up and we lost our water supply," said Adams.

The nearby McNenny Hatchery didn't lose any fish, but the storm damaged the raceway covers, which protect the fish from a variety of risks.

"It prevented algae from growing, which made it a lot easier to grow the fish, a lot less labor. And then they also prevented birds from eating the fish. We don't know yet what we're going to do as far as replacing the covers, if we will, or how they'll be replaced, and that's all under investigation," said hatchery manager Mike Barnes.

But since there are still plenty of fish, McNenny could get a call from the D.C. Booth Hatchery to replace the fish lost to the blizzard.

"We'll work with the state and our other hatcheries in Montana and Wyoming to re-surplus those fish," said Adams.

Adams says he is not sure if the hatchery will avoid closing permanently, but continued public support will help its cause.

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