Mescalero Apache Tribe
Mescalero Tribal Fish Hatcherey
Address: 274 Trout Loop, Mescalero, NM 88340
Phone: (575) 464-8768
Tribal Website: https://mescaleroapachetribe.com/mescalero-tribal-fish-hatchery/
Contact: Shelley Belin
Operated by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, between 1966 and 2001 as the Mescalero National Fish Hatchery, its mission was to provide fish in support of 17 Tribal fisheries program in New Mexico and Arizona. Subsequent to devastating floods in 1999 and 2000, the Service determined to cease operations at the Fish Hatchery and returned the property to the Mescalero Tribe.
Since its re-opening in 2004, the Mescalero Tribal Fish Hatchery has provided over a million ten inch or larger trout in support of eighteen Tribal fisheries program in New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado. Fish from the Tribal Mescalero Fish Hatchery have been stocked as far away as Yuma, AZ (Quechan), Ignacio. CO (Southern Ute), and on the San Carlos Apache Reservation.
In additions to providing rainbow trout for recreational fishing, several efforts have been made to propagate and reintroduce the native Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout. There are on-going efforts to reintroduce this native to the upper reaches of the Rio Ruidoso.
While the underlying purpose of rearing trout remains, the hatchery is also a training center for Tribal youth. Through the Sovereign Nations Service Corps, tribal youth primarily from Mescalero, but with membership from a dozen tribes, including Jupic Eskimo, Choctaw, Pueblo, and Navajo; have received service learning opportunities in cold water fish culture, stream restoration, trail construction and maintenance, and other natural resource management areas. Over the last decade, the Mescalero Fish Hatchery has provided a forum and support for Tribal youth to pursue higher education opportunities in natural resource management. Ms. Kim Yazzie (Navajo) completed an internship and was employed by the FWS. Ms. Alisha Antonio (Laguna) obtained her degree and returned to work with the BIA on her reservation. Mr. Kai-T BlueSky (Cochiti) also obtained his degree and became natural resource manager in his reservation. Ms. Shelley Belin, obtained her degree in Fisheries and is now the Mescalero Fish Hatchery Program Manager; Mr. Wacey Cochise, obtained a B.S. degree in Biology from Highlands, and was employed as a Fisheries Technician; Mr. Nolan Garcia returned to work at the fish hatchery after obtaining a A.A. degree at Central New Mexico; and many other similar success stories.
The Mescalero Tribal Fish Hatchery continues to provide trout in support of Tribal fisheries programs, however it is also a platform to engage Tribal youth towards a professional career, focusing on natural resources. Over the years, the Fisheries Department has developed strong effective relationships with the Southwest Tribal Fisheries Commission and several federal agencies that have been very instrumental in supporting natural resource careers for Tribal members that have the drive and commitment to pursue an advanced degree. More recently, we have developed a new partnership with the Mescalero Apache Schools and the Lincoln National Forest designed to begin to engage high school students in Indigenous Generation Green, a long-term effort to provide service learning experiences to prepare students interested in pursuing natural resource management careers.
The Mescalero Fish Hatchery operates 7 days a week and can provide tours on request with appointment. For more information on the Fish Hatchery, please contact Ms. Shelley Belin, at (575) 464-8768