The La Crosse Fish Health Center (Center) is located in Onalaska, Wisconsin in the southwest corner of the state bordering the Mississippi River. The Center is one of nine fish health laboratories operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to serve the National Fish Hatchery System. The Center was established in 1962 and moved to its current facilities in 1995. The staff consists of eight permanent w/ 1 vacancy, 4 experience program students, and 2 student volunteers.
As an aquatic animal health laboratory, the Center services include health inspections, diagnostics, training opportunities, and technical information exchange to five Regional National Fish Hatcheries. Fish health assistance is also provided to state, tribal, other federal, commercial, and research facilities in diagnosing, prevention, and controlling infectious disease agents.
Another vital function of the Center is to provide fish health training to state, tribal, federal, commercial, and university personnel through short courses, seminars, presentations, and lab details. The Center has an annual short course of one week titled “Introduction to Fish Health Management” taught in La Crosse, Wisconsin to 16 attendees from all over the country. Trained instructors from the Center are also used to teach other short courses throughout the country in cooperation with the Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Publication of a training manual was recently completed titled “Introduction to Fish Health Management.” This very popular publication is used at 7 colleges and universities, many of the state resource agencies, fish culturists at our National Fish Hatcheries, and some commercial hatcheries.