State officials say it’s time to install a new pond filtration system at the Spirit Lake Fish Hatchery, located in Orleans. Hatchery Manager Kim Hawkins says the existing system was installed in the 1970s and is basically a wooden crib, filled with rocks, positioned in the pond outside the hatchery.

“Basically a wood structure with four-inch walls and it’s got landscape rock all the way up the walls,” she says, “and then our intake pipe is at the bottom of that structure.”

The wood started to rot and collapsed at the bottom.

“All the rock had fallen to the bottom of the pond or next to our intake line, so we had to have someone come in and suction out all the debris and leaves that were clogging our intake screen,” she says, “so now we need to replace that structure.”

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is accepting bids from companies to build a new cement structure around a metal screen “that will actually rotate constantly and be sprayed with water, to keep debris from entering our hatchery and our intake line,” she says.

Officials hope to complete the project in 2022.

(Reporting by Ken Funston, KILR, Estherville)