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The Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery Complex (LNFHC) consists of three hatcheries located at Leavenworth, Winthrop and Entiat, in the state of Washington. Nestled on 170 "acres of land in the beautiful Icicle Valley of the Cascade Mountains, the headquarters of the Hatchery Complex is located two miles south of the Bavarian theme-town of
The Complex has been recognized for raising healthy fish, for the environmental awareness shared among employees and their work in all aspects of hatchery operations, and for the environmental education opportunities it provides to the communities and schools of north central Washington. The three hatcheries share extensive year-round public outreach programs such as tours, classroom education, teacher workshops, Kids in the Creek programs, fishing events, and wonderful recreational activities on hatchery land. The Complex is the home of the annual fall Wenatchee River Salmon Festival. The Salmon Fest attracts more than 10,000 people each year and is focused on high quality natural resource education.
The Complex raises 1.625 million juvenile spring Chinook salmon that are released annually into Icicle Creek. The other two hatcheries produce approximately 1.35 million salmon per year. The survival of these salmon is dependent both on the care given to them during their short stay at the hatcheries and the conditions of their environment once released into local tributaries of the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean. The fish travel over 500 miles, past 7 – 9 dams and numerous obstacles to reach the ocean.
The Complex was one of four Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) volunteer facilities chosen nationally to participate in the pilot Environmental Management System (EMS). The facility has continually reviewed, updated, and fully implemented their EMS. Additionally, the entire complex staff is aware of and supports the EMS.
The facility is doing an excellent job of Pollution Prevention. They have a tremendous recycling program, use no pesticides on the facilities, but rely on hand pulling and goats to eliminate invasive weed species on hatchery grounds. The facility uses solar panels and variable speed frequency drive pumps for energy conservation. They have converted their backhoe hydraulics to vegetable oil and will convert their forklifts this year. They purchased and installed cabinets and countertops made from recycled material in the biologists' work station.
Additionally, all hazardous waste streams have been eliminated in the Complex facilities. The Complex has purchased park benches and picnic tables for public use out of recycled plastic lumber. The use of green products for cleaning their facility buildings is actively practiced.
The Complex has a very proactive energy conservation program. Three production wells and a Re-use pump house have went to Variable Speed Frequency Drive motors which get 93 % or better efficiency using 75% or less of energy. The facility will convert a fourth production well in FY 09. Leavenworth NFH also purchased 7 bicycles for personnel to ride to work and 3 additional personnel ride the local bus which reduces the number of vehicles typically used for commuting to work. Solar panels at the Cascadia Alternative High School Discovery Center, which is on the complex, provide electricity back to Chelan County Public Utility District.
Stewardship in the Community
Interface with the communities is very important to the Complex. It is one of the first hatcheries in the nation with a Friends Group, the Friends of Northwest Hatcheries which encompasses 7 hatcheries within the Pacific Northwest. Examples include mentoring programs for high school students, college internships~ special use permits with community organizations including a Summer Theater, Ski Club, horseback and winter sleigh rides. Working with Boy Scouts Service Clubs, Audubon, and Native Plant Society, and many other partners on environmental education projects go year-round.
The Leavenworth Hatchery serves as the permanent home for the innovative Cascade Discovery High School, an accredited alternative high school which serves students of many needs. The Discovery students mentor with hatchery staff, grow native plants in their own greenhouse for hatchery landscaping, and provide recycling program support. Cardboard, aluminum, paper, plastic, antifreeze, oil, and fluorescent tube lights are recycled.