The Atlantic Salmon could again flourish in Fish Creek after being absent from Central New York waterways for more than a century, and Harden Furniture is playing a key role. The family-owned furniture manufacturer is hosting a test hatchery for 5,000 eggs during the spring of 2010.

In partnership with the Fish Creek Atlantic Salmon Club, Harden Furniture has agreed to host the test hatchery and, if successful, has committed to housing an even larger, permanent hatchery. Once established, the Atlantic Salmon are expected to once again embark on a remarkable cycle of journeying hundreds of miles into the Atlantic before returning to their birth site to spawn after two years.

The company has operated along Fish Creek since 1844 and welcomed the opportunity to help re-establish the native species to the area.

“Participating in this initiative to re-introduce the Atlantic Salmon is an exciting opportunity for Harden to build upon our commitment to environmental stewardship,” said Greg Harden, CEO. “The section of Fish Creek that flows past the Harden Factory has always been a popular spot for anglers, and we are extremely excited about the opportunity for a new generation to be able to see Atlantic Salmon flourish in Central New York after disappearing from this area for so long.”

The Fish Creek Atlantic Salmon Club, in cooperation with wildlife officials, will closely monitor the progress of the Atlantic Salmon released this spring. If the re-introduction is successful, Harden is committed to installing a larger, permanent hatchery with a capacity of up to 60,000 eggs.

Once the fry are released and grow to maturity in the waters around McConnellsville, the Atlantic Salmon will begin a two-year migration to the ocean and as far away as the warm Gulf Stream waters off Greenland and Iceland before returning as adults up to two feet long to spawn in Fish Creek.

The section of Fish Creek that flows past the Harden Factory features a small dam that has supplied power to the factory throughout its long history. Wildlife experts say that the dam structure is not high enough to impede the migration of adult Atlantic Salmon returning to spawn.

By the start of the 20th century, populations of Atlantic Salmon virtually disappeared from creeks and streams in New York and surrounding states due to overfishing with nets, dam construction and pollution.

Harden is a founding member of the Sustainable Furnishings Council. Part of its output is made from wood the company harvests from 10,000 acres of timber property it owns near its facility. The timber land has been certified as part of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) program, and the company has also launched successful initiatives to reduce its carbon footprint and incorporate more sustainable materials in its products in recent years.