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Drought Closes North Texas Fish Hatchery

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dundee 2 Drought Closes North Texas Fish Hatchery

(credit: Texas Parks & Wildlife)

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – While parts of North Texas has seen wetter weather, the drought isn’t over, especially for the Dundee State Fish Hatchery near Wichita Falls.

Dundee, the state’s largest fish hatchery, has had to suspend all fish rearing operations due to a lack of water at Lake Kemp, which supplies water to rearing ponds there.

According to Texas Parks & Wildlife official Todd Engeling, “Lake Kemp remains at an elevation of approximately 1,126 feet, only one foot above the level at which the hatchery is not authorized to use water from the lake.”

Officials say the rain simply hasn’t been falling in some of the most needed areas.

“This is a first,” said Dundee Hatchery manager Dennis Smith. “This is the first time anybody knows of that a hatchery has had to suspend operation due to water restriction.”

The Dundee hatchery is the primary producer of striped bass, but given the drought and likely summertime water limitations the facility simply can’t produce.

“We can’t take the chance of producing all those fry and stocking all of these ponds and in 45 days not have water available to harvest those fingerlings,” explained Smith.

A new fish hatchery is being built in east Texas where rain has been more plentiful.

Texas Parks & Wildlife officials say the new location may take on some striped bass production, along with bass, catfish and bluegill.

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