Fish Hatchery


Students measuring the fish as part of their daily routine. Photo provided by Patrick Steele.

There are only a few fish hatcheries in the country available to high school students, and Palisade is one of them. The idea of creating an endangered fish hatchery at Palisade High School came from Mike Gross in 2018, who is the Biological Science Technician and Educational Outreach manager at the Ouray National Fish Hatchery. This idea sparked excitement in Mr. Steele, one of Palisade’s science teachers who always had a passion for fish. This 5-year process of developing an idea, taking action, and creating the hatchery was long, but it finally paid off in the end. “We sold peaches, we did fundraisers, we did so many things to get where we are today,” says Mr. Steele. In the summer of 2020, Palisade got its first 40 fish and since then the hatchery has grown up to 230. Mr. Steele became the official PHS Fish Hatchery supervisor and you can still take one of his many classes to help with the fish. The main job of the PHS Hatchery is raising Endangered Razorback Suckers and releasing them back into the Colorado River. People involved with the hatchery feed the fish on a daily basis, take water chemistry tests, clean the tanks, and more. The next release will be on May 9th at 2 in the afternoon. Students will be excused from 7th period during this time to be a part of the release. It is the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act so this will be a very special release celebrating all the hard work of the students who put their time and effort into caring for these fish. There will be special guests from the Wildlife Service who will also be there to watch the release.