Feds assure Hoeven on funding for N.D. fish hatcheries

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has given its assurance that national fish hatcheries in Garrison and Valley City, N.D., are priorities for funding.

During a meeting Tuesday in Washington with Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Service Director Dan Ashe said the agency plans to seek funding from the Army Corps of Engineers for the hatcheries and will devote the dollars to producing hatchery-raised fish to restock fisheries.

According to a news release from Hoeven’s office, the Corps and Bureau of Reclamation historically have reimbursed the Fish and Wildlife Service for the impacts of Corps projects on water habitats throughout the region. The hatcheries are designed to mitigate those impacts by restocking affected waters. The Corps’ and BOR’s 2013 budget request includes a total of $4.9 million for the Service to produce hatchery-raised fish to restock impacted waters.

Hoeven said the hatcheries are cost-effective, valuable assets in helping to preserve world-class fishing destinations in North Dakota. Hoeven also cited the partnership between the Service and the state Game and Fish Department in operating the hatcheries.

The two agencies share resources and work cooperatively.

“These hatcheries do a tremendous job for sportsmen and women from North Dakota and around the world who enjoy a first-class fishing experience,” Hoeven said in a statement. “The economic impact of North Dakota’s world-class fisheries is in the tens of millions of dollars, employing thousands in the state. The fish hatcheries help to maintain that level of economic activity.”

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