New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
Media contact: Marty Frentzel, (505) 476-8013
Public contact: (505) 476-8000
martin.frentzel@state.nm.us

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, OCT. 15, 2009:

EXPANDED ROLE FOR ROCK LAKE HATCHERY DISCUSSED

SANTA FE, N.M. -- New Mexico’s Rock Lake Hatchery near Santa Rosa has the potential to incubate much more than catfish, trout and walleye.

It can be an education center for schoolchildren, a training center for young adults entering the work force and a small-business development center for individuals interested in charting their own futures. Those were among the ideas discussed during an early October meeting of the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish and leaders from Luna Community College.

The Department is beginning the second phase of its warmwater hatchery development at Rock Lake, which includes construction of the Pecos Watershed Education Center. To make full use of the education center, the agency is looking for partners.

“It’s an exciting opportunity for the Department to garner strong community-based interest in the hatchery, fish management and potential uses of the facility,” said Tod Stevenson, director of the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. “We believe building community partnerships with common goals will enhance our fish management efforts in the future.”

Luna Community College, which has branch campuses in Mora, Springer, Las Vegas and Santa Rosa, appears to be a likely candidate as the Department searches for community support. Luna is considering expanding its community education program to include aquaculture and fisheries curricula.

“Educating our youth on aquaculture is extremely important in the desert climate of New Mexico,” said state Sen. Pete Campos, president of Luna Community College. “It’s the lifeblood of much of our state’s economy and we want to be on the cutting edge of educating our students in industries that will help build stronger local economies.”

Operating since 1964, Rock Lake Hatchery raises about 300,000 rainbow trout every year. The new warmwater facility is holding about a million catfish and produces about 20 million walleye fry every year, half from eggs collected at Ute and Conchas reservoirs.

Delegates from the college also discussed the future of the City of Santa Rosa embarking on a commercial fisheries operation. Training students in aquaculture would ensure the community has a suitable workforce.

Rock Lake Hatchery is 2 miles south of Santa Rosa near the Pecos River. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. Construction of the education center could be completed by next summer, just in time for returning schoolchildren to learn about the fascinating fish, wildlife and other aquatic life forms found up and down the Pecos watershed.

For more information visit www.wildlife.state.nm.us.

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