Kingfisher Flat Hatchery
In 1927, the California Department of Fish & Game (CDFG) constructed a diversion dam on Big Creek (a tributary to Scott Creek near Davenport, CA) for the purpose of supplying water for a salmon hatchery. The Big Creek hatchery was built and continuously operated by CDFG from 1927-1940, at which time the facilities were extensively damaged by a flood and abandoned. In May 1982, through a cooperative agreement with the Big Creek Timber Company, MBSTP obtained permission to develop a new cold-water rearing facility on their land in the Kingfisher Flat area of Big Creek.
From 1982-1985, coho salmon and steelhead eggs were incubated using redwood hatch boxes in Berry Creek (a tributary to Big Creek). In 1985, generous donations and MBSTP volunteer support were applied to construction of the raceways and main hatchery building at Kingfisher Flat. The Big Creek Timber Company has generously provided real estate, access and substantial program support in construction and continued operation of the hatchery.
The MBSTP Kingfisher Flat Genetic Conservation Hatchery (KFGCH) has been in operation since 1985, and is the only privately-run salmonid rearing facility on California’s Central Coast. This facility is critical to the recovery of local, native salmonids, namely federally endangered Central California Coast coho salmon and threatened steelhead. MBSTP hatchery staff hold a combined total of over 35 years of experience in aquaculture- this in-depth knowledge is fundamental to the accomplishment of MBSTP program objectives.
Fish produced at KFGCH are of the highest genetic diversity and are the offspring of locally-sourced broodstock. This practice is representative of MBSTP’s efforts to recover native salmon and trout populations of the greater Monterey Bay region while preserving local genetic resources and supporting, rather than impacting, wild populations.
KFGCH is in an ideal setting for a small-scale conservation and recovery hatchery, although this location also comes with some challenges. The hatchery has experienced intense flooding, drought and substantial wildfires in the Big Creek watershed, and has withstood them all. However, KFGCH would not have endured without substantial support from the local community and volunteers. Please consider helping the hatchery rebuild local salmon and steelhead populations by contributing or volunteering. Thank you!
Powdermill Creek Facility
Since 1986, MBSTP has operated an ‘acclimation’ facility on Powdermill Creek, a tributary to the San Lorenzo River. The Powdermill Creek facility is a single, large circular tank with water sourcing and filtration infrastructure. This facility is used to raise fish through the juvenile stage in water from their native basin. This is done to improve ‘imprinting’ of the fish, helping them to orient back to the San Lorenzo watershed upon their return as adults. Operation of the Powdermill Creek facility is possible through cooperation between MBSTP and the Paradise Park Masonic Club, which owns the land.
Coastal net pens
MBSTP operates coastal net pens for the release of chinook salmon smolts from state-managed hatchery facilities. This program is designed to mitigate the extensive loss of salmon habitat in California’s Bay-Delta and Central Valley regions. Our net pen releases are intended to directly supplement area commercial and sport fisheries. The net pens operated by MBSTP are provided by the Commercial Salmon Stamp fund, providing a mechanism for fishing licenses and stamps to directly support the fisheries they depend upon. In the Spring of 2019, MBSTP will be operating a net pen release program for chinook salmon out of Santa Cruz Harbor. We are also working to secure permission to operate a net pen release out of Monterey Harbor in order to support our area’s fisheries and coastal communities.