The Connetquot Hatchery is an integral part of the historic framework and cultural landscape of the 3,473-acre Connetquot River State Park Preserve. The hatchery operated successfully for over 140 years and touts an impressive list of visitors including Presidents Hoover, Cleveland and Grant. From 1973 through 2007 fishing clubs were significant supporters of the hatchery.
When Infectious Pancreatic Necrosis (IPN) was detected in 2008, the hatchery was closed. It has remained closed since. Though harmless to people, IPN is a contagious disease that can be fatal to young fish of the Salmonid family, including Rainbow, Brook and Brown trout. State Parks has since worked with the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to eliminate IPN from fish in the river and develop the plan to reopen the hatchery.
To reduce the chance of a reinfection, the project will install a bio-secure well and generator to provide a fresh supply of groundwater to the hatchery. Project work will begin this fall. Fish cultivation is expected to begin in 2015, with the first trout release occurring in late 2016 or early 2017.
The Environmental Protection Fund will pay for $150,000 in upgrades to the historic hatchery. The Friends of Connetquot and other local fishing clubs will contribute $10,000 to purchase eggs needed to begin cultivating fish.
The hatchery at Connetquot provides a unique opportunity for State Parks to provide environmental education and a quality fishing experience to a diverse and passionate population of beginning and experienced anglers in a highly populated area. Restoring the hatchery will restore a century-old cultural landscape, a rare educational opportunity, and an entry-level fishing opportunity for handicap, youth and beginning anglers.