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OWF invites the public to celebrate Herman's Birthday from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. Saturday, June 22, at the Spruce Gifts & Provisions store at Bonneville Fish Hatchery.
OWF invites the public to celebrate Herman's Birthday from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. Saturday, June 22, at the Spruce Gifts & Provisions store at Bonneville Fish Hatchery.
Oregon Wildlife Foundation Invites Public to Celebrate Herman's Birthday (Photo) - 06/17/24

(CASCADE LOCKS, Ore.) – Herman the Sturgeon is kind of a big deal in Oregon; a white sturgeon with a colorful history celebrating a birthday on Saturday, June 22. You are invited to join that celebration and toast it with “High Five, Herman” special summer IPA, courtesy of and available at Ferment Brewing Company’s tasting room in Hood River. 

Herman’s story includes trips between the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife’s (ODFW) Roaring River Fish Hatchery near Scio and the Oregon State Fairgrounds in Salem. Beginning in the 1930’s and up until the 1980’s, one Herman or another was a mainstay at the State Fair’s Animal Village exhibit. Life on the road is hard on a fish so ODFW stopped trucking Herman places and started planning for a permanent home. 

To provide Herman with a safe and healthier environment, a campaign was launched in 1997 to build him a suitable habitat at Bonneville Fish Hatchery in the Columbia River Gorge. In partnership with ODFW, the Oregon Wildlife Foundation (OWF) raised the funding needed, more than $350,000, to construct the Sturgeon Viewing and Interpretive Center at Bonneville Fish Hatchery. Dedicated on Sept. 27, 1998, the Center is one of Oregon’s top visitor attractions. 

The Center has served its purpose and mission for over 25 years. However, prolonged exposure to Columbia River Gorge weather has taken a toll on the building, and the interpretive signage within it needs to better speak to a present-day audience.

The Foundation is currently working with ODFW on a development plan for the hatchery, including needed repairs, improvements, and updates to the Interpretive Center’s signage.

If you would like to help us in our efforts, tax-deductible donations can be made using the following form

“Bonneville Fish Hatchery is the right place for Herman to be and for the public to learn about sturgeon conservation challenges,” said Tim Greseth, Executive Director of the Foundation. With the Columbia River just a stone’s throw away, visitors can imagine what the river might have been like when it was teeming with salmon and these prehistoric fish.”

OWF also owns and operates Spruce Gifts & Provisions stores at the hatchery and in downtown Hood River. The store at Bonneville features coffee drinks, treats, local and regional gift items, and, of course, Herman the Sturgeon memorabilia. Proceeds from the sale of merchandise at Spruce Gifts & Provisions stores help support fish and wildlife conservation throughout Oregon.

The Foundation cordially invites you to join them in celebrating Herman’s birthday between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on June 22. This is an all-ages experience to celebrate the passing of another year in Herman’s long and storied life. Come out and wish him a happy birthday, take an “ussie” with a legendary fish, sign Herman’s birthday card, and pick up a souvenir of your visit to Bonneville Fish Hatchery.

Guests, 21 years of age and older are invited to continue the celebration at Ferment Brewing Company’s tasting room in Hood River with their “High Five, Herman!” IPA.  “High Five, Herman!” was brewed using regional, environmentally responsible ingredients from mission-driven suppliers. Mainstem Malt, a company that works directly with farmers in the Columbia River Basin to supply Salmon-Safe grains, provides the malt for this beer. The hops, sourced from Crosby Hops in Woodburn, are also Salmon-Safe, meaning they are grown using watershed-friendly and climate-resilient stewardship practices to protect water quality and wildlife habitats. 

Sturgeon Conservation

Herman the Sturgeon is approximately 10 feet long, weighs over 500 pounds, and is over 80 years old, but who cares, age is just a number! There are records of larger and older white sturgeon in the Columbia River and elsewhere in Oregon, but Herman is an excellent example of this large and long-lived species. Worldwide, there are 23 species of sturgeon, with seven found in North America. Only two, white and green sturgeon, are found along the West Coast and in Oregon. Both are Oregon Conservation Strategy species, see for more information.

Herman comes from a long line of prehistoric bottom-feeders. Sturgeon evolved during the Jurassic Period of the Mesozoic Era, when dinosaurs still roamed the earth. Sturgeon have changed very little since then. What has changed is the availability of quality sturgeon habitat and their food supply.

According to an information sheet on sturgeon from ODFW, “White sturgeon in most of the Columbia River Basin aren’t listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), however, these populations still face many challenges. The free-flowing river systems these fish have adapted to have now been impeded by hydropower dams, separating the river system into reservoirs. These dams have had many negative impacts, including direct mortality, restricted movement and blocked access to the ocean, flooded historic spawning habitats, and reduced habitat complexity. Climate change has increased the frequency of low water years, increasing temperatures within the Columbia River Basin and creating other unfavorable and lethal environmental conditions.”

Bonneville Hatchery and Sturgeon Viewing and Interpretive Center

The Sturgeon Viewing and Interpretive Center is located at Bonneville Fish Hatchery, 70543 NE Herman Loop, in Cascade Locks. From I-84, take Exit 40 to Bonneville Dam/Fish Hatchery. Follow the signs to the hatchery and park in the parking lot. For more information on the Sturgeon Viewing and Interpretive Center visit

Oregon Wildlife Foundation

Oregon Wildlife Foundation is an apolitical operating charitable foundation dedicated to increasing private and public funding support for wildlife conservation projects in Oregon. Since 1981, OWF has directed tens of millions of dollars in private and public support to a broad range of projects throughout Oregon. For more information visit


Herman’s Birthday Schedule

10 a.m. Birthday celebration kicks off, meet OWF staff, a coloring station for kids (of all ages) and self-guided tours of the Sturgeon Interpretive Center.

12 p.m. Cupcakes and treats courtesy of the Spruce Gifts & Provisions store

1 p.m. Wrap up of festivities

How To Be a Sturgeon Steward:

  • Be good to our natural places
    • properly dispose of trash
    • think responsibly about activities that impact our streams like
      • motor oil from leaky vehicles or improper disposal, 
      • detergents from driveway washing of vehicles, and
      • the use of phosphate-rich fertilizers on lawns.
  • Use less water and electricity.
  • Follow Fish and Wildlife regulations. 
  • Report the illegal taking of sturgeon (poaching) to Oregon State Police or through the Turn In Poachers hotline: 1-800-452-7888.

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