The original Tribal Sturgeon Hatchery was operating at its physical and functional capacity limiting any program operational flexibility in the future. Expansion of the current facilities was not a viable alternative because the available space and water sources are currently fully utilized. The new sturgeon hatchery, in concert with the existing facility, enables more families to be reared in temperature and density conditions that optimize in-hatchery survival. Additional rearing space also improves fish health by reducing density-related pathogen transmission and disease susceptibility. It also supports separation of sturgeon progeny groups (families) in the hatchery in order to maintain distinct family lineages until the fish are large enough to be marked with passive integrated transponder (PIT) tags. Additional space also facilitates separate rearing of large and small components of individual families to reduce mortality due to size-based selection in the hatchery.
There was no physical capacity available at the existing Tribal Sturgeon Hatchery to accommodate the burbot conservation aquaculture program. So the construction of the new, Twin Rivers facility was critical to advancing the burbot conservation efforts and to meeting the biological objectives identified in the KVRI Burbot Conservation Strategy.