STATE: N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission reports damage to facilities
PISGAH, N.C. – The storm that hit western North Carolina last Tuesday had a major impact on two facilities operated by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. The Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education is currently closed to the public and all classes are suspended until further notice. The Bobby N. Setzer Fish Hatchery remains operational but closed to the public.
The education center and hatchery are located on the same tract of property in Pisgah National Forest outside of Brevard. Several staff, a volunteer and one member of the public were at the education center when it began to take on water last Tuesday. They moved to higher ground immediately and were successfully evacuated by local emergency medical services. Hatchery staff and their families safely remained to care for the fish and the facilities.
An assessment of the impacts on the education center and the hatchery is ongoing, however, Wildlife Commission officials have confirmed that many buildings sustained some level of water damage. In addition, flash flooding caused the hatchery raceways to be overtopped. While some of the 1 million trout survived and remained in the raceways, many were displaced by the rising water and stranded on hatchery grounds. Others died in the raceways due to poor water quality caused by the flood waters. Some fish may have even washed into the Davidson River.
Once staff fully understand the extent of the fish losses due to the storm, plans will be developed to address trout stockings for both this fall and next year. Wildlife officials will release those details as they are determined.
Updates about both facilities will be available on the agency’s website, ncwildlife.org. Information related specifically to the educational center will be posted to the Pisgah Center for Wildlife’s Facebook page.