The Friends of the Neosho National Fish Hatchery will hold a "pond party," at the hatchery at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 29. The public is invited to see the hatchery ponds as they are filling up again.

The Friends of the Neosho National Fish Hatchery will hold a "pond party," at the hatchery at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 29. The public is invited to see the hatchery ponds as they are filling up again.
Some time ago, a major problem arose with the "mixing box," which is the place where all the natural springs come together on hatchery grounds. The different waters are mixed together in the box and then all are infused with oxygen. After that. the water is released to use in the ponds and raceways.
The ponds have been empty since May, as work was done on the mixing box. The entire box had to be rebuilt and water lines replaced. The old mixing box was more than 60 years old. The new box is better built, using more modern materials which should make it last many additional years.
It has been a long dry summer on the grounds, and people have noticed. Out-of-town and out-of-state visitors were always disappointed to find the empty ponds. They often asked, "Where are the fish?" either of the staff or of volunteers in the bookstore.
"Many people had asked why the ponds no longer held water," said Rod May, hatchery manager. "So we are happy to bring the water back to our beautiful ponds."
At the Wednesday pond party, the hatchery manager and part of his staff will be on hand to explain what has happened and how the problem was fixed. They will also explain the working of the mixing box and the magic it performs for the hatchery.
The springs that feed the hatchery provide about 2 million gallons of natural spring water each day. The location of several nearby springs is one of the major reasons Neosho was chosen as a site for a federal fish hatchery in 1889. The springs and the rail line running adjacent to the property gave Neosho an edge over other communities vying for the hatchery. At the time, the hatchery was considered quite an economic catch for Neosho. Townspeople and city fathers worked hard to get it here and have supported it ever since—in good times and bad.
After the "mixing  box" talk, and tour of the new spring box, the public is invited to enjoy cookies on the veranda of the Visitor Center; courtesy of the Friends of the Neosho National Fish Hatchery.