Private John Allen National Fish Hatchery

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Project Titles:

  • Replace Office Building and Add Visitor Contact Station (FFS #R4QA)
  • Replace Ceiling Boards on Historic Residence (FFS #R4PZ)
  • Replace Siding on Historic Residence (FFS #R4QB)
  • Construct New Well (FFS #R4RC)
  • Rehabilitate Deteriorated Kettle 60 (FFS #R4PQ)
  • Rehabilitate Deteriorated Kettle 63 (FFS #R4PR)
  • Rehabilitate Deteriorated Kettle 64 (FFS# R4PT)
  • Rehabilitate Deteriorated Kettle 65 (FFS #R4PU)
  • Rehabilitate Deteriorated Kettle 56 (FFS #R4PV)
  • Rehabilitate Deteriorated Kettle in Pond 8a (FFS #R4PW)
  • Rehabilitate Deteriorated Kettle in Pond 9 (FFS #R4PX)
  • Rehabilitate Deteriorated Kettle in Pond 10 (FFS #R4PY)

State: Mississippi

Initial Project Description: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS, the Service) will use American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act, ARRA) funds to construct a visitor contact station, replace the office building, replace the roof and siding on a historic residence, construct a new well, and rehabilitate eight deteriorating kettles at the Private John Allen National Fish Hatchery (NFH) in Tupelo, Mississippi.

The Service awarded a $976,807 contract to Centennial Contractors Enterprises, Inc. from Reston, Virginia to make improvements to Private John Allen NFH. The hatchery improvements include facility repairs that will improve the hatchery environment for employees and visitors and a new well and pump to provide water to raise imperiled fish species.

The majority of the funding associated with the contract will support the construction of a new office and visitor contact station at the hatchery. Currently, the hatchery does not have a visitor contact station; the hatchery’s office building is used to host visitors and school groups. In addition, the current office building has structural damage, contains asbestos material from the 1960s, does not comply with the American Disability Act (ADA), and is no longer large enough or dependable enough to meet the hatchery’s needs.

According to Hatchery Manager, Ricky Campbell, “We have a huge outreach program here at the hatchery. We get a lot of tourism from schools, and we work with the schools on aquatic education activities by hosting environmental science field days. This new building will have exhibits, a conference room, and facilities that will make it much easier to host students, as well as the thousands of other visitors who come here every year.”

In addition, Centennial Contractors Enterprises, Inc. will construct a new well to provide a constant water supply to the Intensive Culture Building, which supports production of imperiled fish species. The current well is approximately 50 years old, and pulls sand into the water, causing the pump motor to burn out.

Centennial Contractors Enterprises, Inc. is also replacing the siding and ceiling boards on a historic building at the hatchery. The 1904 building, called the manager’s residence, is a beautiful two-story Victorian house, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Tupelo Garden Club manages the building, which is open to the public and used for weddings, meetings and fundraisers. “There’s nothing quite like this house anywhere in the area,” Campbell said.

Campbell added, “This multi-part project is going to make a big difference in how the fish hatchery does its job, and in the way we interact with the public. In addition, the nearly $1 million contract is going to be felt right here, benefitting the local economy.”

Centennial Contractors Enterprises, Inc. will hire local companies to complete the work. According to the company’s Vice President of Marketing, David Carrithers, “We support the local business communities we are operating in, particularly the local small and disadvantaged businesses.”

In addition, the Service contracted with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to rehabilitate eight pond kettles. When draining water out of the ponds, the hatchery uses kettles as a collection basin for the fish. The current kettles suffered from many years of heavy use and a significant number of temporary repairs, due to a lack of funding to complete a remediation process. The Recovery Act funds will allow the hatchery to repair the kettles.

Established in 1901, Private John Allen NFH is named after the local Congressman who gave a tongue-in-cheek speech in Congress arguing for funding for the hatchery. The Congressman stated, “Thousands and millions of unborn fish are clamoring to this Congress today for an opportunity to be hatched at the Tupelo hatchery.” It is located in downtown Tupelo, and is one of the only fish hatcheries located in an urban setting.

October 2011 Project Update: The TVA completed the rehabilitation of the hatchery’s kettles in July 2010, 45 days ahead of schedule. According to Campbell, “The ARRA funding allowed us to attain the much needed repairs and improve functionality by increasing the height of the kettle walls. The increased height allows for removal of fish much earlier in the draining process, thus increasing survival during harvest and fitness for stocking. The rehabbed kettle slots eliminated the possibility of fish escape and allowed for a more controlled draw-down of the water level.”

Campbell added, “The benefit of the project can best be measured by the overall increase in production and survivability of the species reared in the ponds. An increase in production and fish fitness directly impact the overall success of restoration for any given species. Economic benefits associated with restoration efforts and recreational fishing for the Southeast Region is significant and validated [in many] FWS Economic Impact of Recreational Fishing Reports.” Fish production in the affected ponds increased by 60% during Fiscal Year 2011, as compared to the prior year.

Centennial Contractors Enterprises, Inc. contracted with Century Contractors to construct the visitor center and office building and restore the historic building at Private John Allen NFH.

Century Contractors completed the construction of the new, ADA-compliant office building and attached visitor contact station in May 2011. The new administrative facility includes expanded office space, and a 25-person conference room, which has already hosted two major meetings. The conference room is available to all facility users upon request. The hatchery is planning a grand opening celebration for April 2012.

In addition, Century Contractors completed the replacement of the rotten, warped siding on the historic manager’s house in June 2011, and finished replacing the loose ceiling boards on the house in September 2011.

According to Campbell, “The historic residence is a focal point of the Hatchery from a visitation standpoint. The structure [was] used for years as a venue to host weddings, receptions, plays and other socially important functions associated with the City of Tupelo. Over the last twenty years, the residence began to deteriorate in appearance, due to lack of available deferred maintenance funding. The Tupelo Garden Club partnered with FWS in delivering any available funding they received through fundraisers for preservation projects related to the house and grounds. The repairs derived from the ARRA funding addressed 75% of the total maintenance backlog of the house and restored it to its original Victorian state of appearance.” The house will re-open for visitation by spring of 2013, after the hatchery addresses the remaining maintenance issues.

Centennial Contractors Enterprises, Inc. contracted with Parks Well Drilling Services Inc. to construct a new well at the hatchery. According to Campbell, “The new well allows the hatchery a 75% increase in storage and pumping capacity. The water quality parameters are much greater and much more conducive to intensive culture of reared species. The new well motors are more energy efficient, resulting in reduced energy consumption.”

The projects completed by Centennial Contractors Enterprises, Inc. and its subcontractors created 1.5 jobs.

For more information, visit the Private John Allen National Fish Hatchery website.

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Originally posted 03/03/2010
Page Completed 10/20/2011

DOI Recovery Investments by Bureau

Last Updated: February 02, 2012
Content contact: recovery@ios.doi.gov