Renovation of Old Fish Hatchery planned |

Renovation of Old Fish Hatchery planned

Heather Segale and John Cobourn

Provided to the Tahoe Daily Tribune. The UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center Fish Hatchery field laboratory near Tahoe City is in need of a face-lift.

The old fish hatchery just outside of Tahoe City will soon be getting some much-needed tender loving care. This historic building, built in 1921, was used to raise coldwater fish, such as trout. There is only one other similar building, designed by the same State of California architect, in existence. The building was designed to keep the temperature cold enough for the coldwater fish. After new methods were developed for providing cold groundwater for the juvenile fish, the high-altitude hatchery became obsolete.

The University of California, Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center (formerly called the Tahoe Research Group) has been conducting research out of this old fish hatchery for the past 20 years. The structure is now in a state of disrepair. A group of scientific research institutions is building a new state-of-the-art facility on the Sierra Nevada College Campus at Incline Village. However, UC Davis is also planning to renovate the old hatchery.

Most visitors and many locals might not even be aware that there is an old historic fish hatchery in the region. The hatchery was once home to John Steinbeck, who reportedly wrote his first novel here. “Since UC Davis began operating out of this building, it has been maintained just with a small amount of funding that we could get from research grants. As you can see from the roof, that hasn’t been enough to make it the establishment we would like it to be,” said Geoff Schladow, director, UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center.

Reno architectural firm Lundahl and Associates, along with a full team of historical architects, structural engineers, mechanical engineers and others, have been hired to come up with a renovation plan. Inside, the original scissor beams will be preserved and repaired. The rest of the inside will be gutted. “This hatchery will provide a field station and prep lab. When we have a large lake experiment going on and we are starting to prepare equipment to go out into the lake for months at a time, this open space allows us to assemble the large equipment,” Schladow explains.

On the outside, the building will get a new roof, new siding and new windows. Since it is a historical building, the character and history of the hatchery will be preserved.

There are also plans for an interpretive boardwalk through the nearby wetland and an annex to the building that will be open to the public.

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There will be static display boards and a window to the inside so that people can see the old architecture. “If there are activities going on, preparing for an experiment, people can come see what’s involved in doing this kind of research,” Schladow says.

Construction is expected to begin as early as next spring. There are also plans to coordinate with other nearby Placer County and California Tahoe Conservancy wetland restoration projects. For more information, contact Heather Segale, UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center, (530) 583-3279 or, or see or