By Megan Torres, Reporter
Group photo: L-R: Councillor Willam Canella, Councillor Tim Waterman, Director Greg Lay, Councillor Josh Jimerson, Councillor Angie Kennedy, Councillor John Williams Jr., Councillor Llona LeRoy, Councillor Presley Redeye, Jonathan Gill.
Seneca Fish & Wildlife in Cattaraugus now has their very own trout hatchery that specifically houses brook trout. Fish population is on a decline due to human influences and habitat loss. The brook trout is native to this area.
“It’s culturally important because the brook trout was here as long as our people have been here. It’s a true native species.” explains Cattaraugus Director, Greg Lay.
To preserve this species, the department applied for grants to fund the project. In 2016, they were rewarded “A Tribal Wildlife Grant” through US Fish & Wildlife Services and “Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Grant” through the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
The hatchery consists of 5 large holding tanks that can each hold up to 500 fish. There are hatching jars which hold the eggs and when stimulated with water, it gets the eggs to hatch mimicking how the process begins as if they were directly in the creek. Once hatched, they drop into the hatching troughs. The hatchery is environmentally conscious as well. The water used in the tanks is on a recirculating system. The used water will go through a bio filter which removes the waste, making the water reusable again.
In the future, they hope to breed other declining native species such as walleye and perch.