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Contract for Hatchery Design Signed

CONTACT:
Dianne Timmins: 603-271-2501
Scott Mason: 603-271-3511
November 29, 2023

Concord, NH – A contract was approved by the Governor and Council today for HDR Engineering, Inc. (HDR) to design a modernized hatchery facility to replace the current New Hampshire Fish and Game Department (NHFG) fish hatchery at New Hampton. The total cost of this contract is $7.253 million, which is funding through the NH Governor’s Office for Emergency Relief and Recovery (GOFERR). This work is in response to more stringent US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) water quality permit limits (12 parts per billion total phosphorus) at the Powder Mill Hatchery in New Durham.

This proposal came after a year-long assessment at Powder Mill by HDR to evaluate the feasibility and costs to achieve EPA compliance, as well as to evaluate the conditions and capacities of all six NHFG hatcheries. The study found that all six facilities needed extensive maintenance and repairs. These reports can be viewed at https://www.wildlife.nh.gov/fishing-new-hampshire/fisheries-management-new-hampshire/new-hampshire-fish-hatcheries/nh-fish.

The construction of the new facility at New Hampton is estimated to cost around $50 million and will be completed by the end of 2026. Efforts will also continue to improve the other facilities, including Powder Mill, working under a Statewide Plan developed by HDR as part of the original evaluation.

In 2018, the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) sued NHFG over the amount of phosphorus being emitted by the Powder Mill Hatchery in New Durham. The hatchery had no phosphorus discharge limits in its EPA permit, but the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services’ determination that the waterbodies downstream have water quality impairments and the lawsuit prompted EPA to impose the stringent 12 parts per billion limit on phosphorus discharge from this hatchery beginning in 2021. EPA, CLF, and NHFG worked together on a consent decree to reach a solution. After intense study, it was determined that the new limit could not be reached under the current operation and, therefore, the number of fish produced at this facility will be drastically reduced in 2025 to meet compliance. Investment in the New Hampton facility will help offset reductions at Powder Mill.

“New Hampshire’s hatchery infrastructure and operation are definitely in need of upgrading and we are pleased that we have a plan to move forward to not only begin to make our facilities more efficient and environmentally friendly, but to also provide improved opportunity to the anglers who enjoy fishing the state’s freshwater rivers, lakes, and ponds,” said Fish and Game Executive Director Scott Mason. “These modifications will improve the water quality within the hatchery system, thus improving our discharge, a critical part of this entire effort.”

The Fish and Game stocking program has been around since the late 1800s and the hatchery program since the early 1900s. The six current facilities are located in New Hampton, New Durham, Carroll, Warren, Milford, and Berlin and produce over 1 million fish for stocking in state waters each year for the estimated 228,000 anglers who recreate in the state. In fact, the NH Fish and Game Department was originally founded in 1865 to address declining fish populations due to overfishing.

For more information about the current NH Fish and Game hatchery program and the modernization project, visit https://www.wildlife.nh.gov/fishing-new-hampshire/new-hampshire-fish-hatcheries.