By Doug Aloisi, Genoa NFH
Winter is typically a time where the hatchery staff can begin to repair the damage to our buildings and equipment, as well as add improvements that our maintenance staff would not be able to do during the production season. This winter was no exception, with maintenance necessary to equipment crucial to the operation of our offsite mussel rearing trailer. Also included was the installation of a new iron filter for removing iron from culture water before it is used on our walleye egg incubation battery. This raises the capacity of our previous iron filter by over 300%, which will allow us to increase water flows within the system to reduce fungus growth and increase egg survival. Also included within the system is the installation of a three phase pump with a variable frequency drive, which should save on the hatchery’s electric bill this coming spring. The station’s mussel trailer is a good object lesson on how hard life can get in a trailer down by the River. It started its life as a converted tool trailer back in 2009. In 10 years the flooring was developing soft spots and one of the interior walls was harboring a fungi species. After its 10th season in the field, the floor was fixed, walls were purged of mold and fungi and painted and new waterproof LED lighting was installed. Culture and UV systems were also maintained and readied for the coming spring deployment. The trailer is deployed at a local Corps of Engineers Campground which is adjacent to the mighty Mississippi. The River is the trailer’s water source, bringing with it the tiny microscopic particles the young mussel larvae need to survive, and is crucial to the success of Genoa’s mussel program. Now the only thing needed is the changing of the season. Even with the snow cover, the days are growing longer, and the staff is growing more anxious to put their new and renewed equipment through its paces. Come on spring!