American River Hatchery is located along the American River below Nimbus Dam and Folsom Dams. The hatchery was constructed to increase angling opportunities throughout Northern California. The hatchery sites on United States Bureau of Reclamation property which is also home to the CDFW Nimbus Hatchery, Water Pollution Control Laboratory, Aquatic Bioassessment Laboratory, Fish Health Laboratory, and the North Central Region headquarters.
The hatchery was constructed in 1968 and initially had a main hatchery building, two houses, an office and garage building, and ten concrete raceways. Water for the hatchery is gravity fed from Lake Natoma via 30 inch and 32 inch pipelines. The hatchery uses a flow through system bringing in approximately 52 cubic feet per second.
Renovations to American River Hatchery started in 1978 when four 150 foot long concrete nursery ponds were added to expand capacity for rearing juvenile fish and two earthen settling ponds were added to receive discharge water from American and Nimbus hatcheries to improve downstream American River water quality. In 2013, major renovations to the hatchery were under taken to replace the old hatchery building that was outdated and undersized for current program needs at a cost of approximately $750,000. The two settling ponds were enlarged and two of the four nursery ponds were removed to make way for a state of the art hatchery building. The new hatchery building more than doubled the capacity of the old building for hatching eggs and rearing fry.
In August of 2014 in response to an unprecedented drought, an improvement project was initiated to increase performance and improve water quality in the new hatchery building during current and future drought conditions and to improve production of heritage Lahontan Cutthroat Trout. To increase capacity, two large circular tanks were installed on the south side of the new hatchery building. To improve water quality, a drum filter to remove solids and two ultraviolet (UV) sterilizers to kill fish pathogens were installed to the supply water of the hatchery building. In addition, water supplied to the new hatchery building can be run through a series of chillers to cool water temperatures up to 10 degrees Fahrenheit while heat exchange plates recover chilled temperature of water leaving the facility and transmit that to incoming water, saving energy. The hatchery building recirculates and reconditions water to save on water used. The approximate cost of the project was $1,500,000.
American River Hatchery main page