Hatchery renovations open for comment
Major renovations are proposed for the Bobby N. Setzer Fish Hatchery in the Pisgah National Forest near Brevard, and the U.S. Forest Service is seeking feedback on an environmental assessment analyzing their expected impacts.
The site was severely damaged during flooding from Tropical Storm Fred in 2021. Renovations will replace dated and failing infrastructure to ensure that the hatchery can continue to operate, while also increasing operational efficiency, maximizing fish production and making the water supply more reliable. The project will increase the capacity for fish production and include improved restroom facilities. Renovations are expected to improve the quality of water used at the hatchery and flowing downstream in the Davidson River.
Located on 44 acres of national forest land, the hatchery operates via a special use permit the Forest Service has granted to the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. It was built in the late 1950s by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and turned over to the Wildlife Commission in 1983, with a major renovation in the mid-1990s. Currently, the hatchery produces and stocks more than 600,000 catchable trout each year in 13 Western North Carolina counties.
Trout fishing in North Carolina has an economic impact of $1.38 billion, said Wildlife Commission Executive Director Cameron Ingram, and is enjoyed by more than 300,000 state residents — plus many more visitors from out of state.
“Most trout stocked in our public waters originate from this hatchery,” Ingram said. “Renovating Setzer Hatchery will ensure a robust trout fishing experience remains a reality in North Carolina, and secure continued economic opportunities, especially to our mountain communities.”
The Environmental Assessment is open for public comment through Tuesday, Oct. 17. To view the document or submit comments, visit fs.usda.gov/project/nfsnc/?project=59657