The MBSTP Genetic Conservation and Recovery Hatchery in Santa Cruz County is critical to the recovery of local native salmonids (salmon & steelhead). Populations can be rebuilt from our coho captive brood-stock and from hatchery spawning and rearing. The controlled setting results in the production of large healthy smolts in the hatchery. These fish out-migrate soon after being planted in the local creeks and river. The hatchery-produced fish do not compete with naturally occurring salmonids, but increase the population numbers thus increasing the probability of a good spawning-run return. The MBSTP hatchery produces fish with the greatest genetic diversity possible. They are considered to be part of the “wild” population, not a “hatchery” fish. A focus and goal of our hatchery operation is to maximize the genetic diversity of the fish we use to supplement the “wild” population.
The facility was started-up in 1982 at the site of an abandoned CDFW hatchery on Big Creek. It is in a nearly pristine natural setting with high-quality natural habitat in the watershed. Much of the land in the watershed is owned by Big Creek Timber Co. and they provide the real estate and access to the hatchery free of charge. They are also invaluable in providing in-kind support to the hatchery and operations.
Success comes to the hatchery through the adaptive management and hard work of our staff and volunteers!