Congressman Ron Kind, representatives from the Sac and Fox Tribe of Oklahoma, and members of the local media helped Genoa National Fish Hatchery celebrate the commemorative groundbreaking for the future Great River Road Interpretive Center on August 21, 2013. The new interpretive center will be located at the Genoa National Fish Hatchery in Genoa, Wisconsin. The project is being partially funded from a grant secured by the National Scenic Byways Program, part of the federal transportation budget. The grant is the first of its type for the Fisheries Program nationally, and the first use of Department of Transportation, Federal Highways – National Scenic Byways funding of any type awarded to a national fish hatchery.

The center will focus on the intrinsic value of the Upper Mississippi River, including its history and natural resources. The center will also feature an exhibit on the last battle of the Black Hawk War, which was fought just south of the hatchery.

The value of the new interpretive facility lies within its accessibility to both local residents and travelers on the National Scenic Byway. The new facility will offer visitors opportunities to learn about the aquatic resources of the Upper Mississippi River Basin. Exhibits will spotlight the hatchery and its current programs. Visitors to the center will also be able to access the outdoor experiences at the hatchery through its public-friendly fishing piers and wetlands boardwalk.

An estimated 14,000 people per year visit Genoa National Fish Hatchery to view fish and aquatic species, and participate in educational and recreational programs. Visitation is expected to significantly increase after the facility is completed in 2014.

Image courtesy of Kubala Washatko, Inc./ U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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