Norfork National Fish Hatchery Receives Funding for 2012

Hello again everybody!

We got some great news about the Norfork National Fish Hatchery.  I don’t know if you remember, but we did a story earlier this year, and put up a webpage about the proposed budget cuts for 2012 that threatened to cut all funding for the Norfork National Fish Hatchery.

(If you’d like to read all of that information, you can visit our main website at http://www.hisplaceresort.net/TroutHatcheries.htm. )

Anyway, Leon Alexander, spokesperson for the local Friends of the Norfork Fish Hatchery, reports that we did indeed get funding in the 2012 budget.  The budget includes a total of $7.2 million for the nine mitigation hatcheries which were de-funded by the US Fish & Wildlife Service in their original budget request.

According to Leon, information submitted by Congressman Rick Crawford’s office says the funding is $3.8 million from  the Corps of Engineers, who will in turn reimburse the Fish & Wildlife Service, with the remainder coming from the Fish & Wildlife Service in the amount of $3.388 million.

(Some interesting things to note:  The Fish & Wildlife Service, who had permanently de-funded all hatchery mitigation, was basically forced by Congress to put that money back into the budget…  The original amount requested was $6.9 million, so the remainder of the $7.2 million will go back into the “deferred maintenance fund”, which was depleted covering operational expenses to date.  Some other funding has still not been reinstated; the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) for example, has not recommitted to mitigation funding.  Since they are not a governmental agency, they cannot be forced to start paying again…  they saw the opportunity when USFW Service de-funded mitigation money to follow suit…  and they did…  it will be one of the ongoing fights for the future.  To read the FY 2012 Final consolidated Appropriations Bill, click here. )

Leon says this is really good news for the hatchery employees and all those who depend on the Trout Hatcheries as a source of income, and for Baxter County and the local economy in particular, which relies heavily on trout fishing as a primary source of sales tax income.

Leon goes on to say that this took tremendous effort on the part of the Arkansas Congressional Staffs to accomplish this change in funding given current efforts to reduce all federal budgets.  He says Congressman Crawford and Senators Mark Pryor & John Boozman were tireless in their efforts to secure this funding for the Norfork and Greers Ferry National Fish Hatcheries.

We still have to remember that even though the funding has been approved for this year… We still have the same problem that we had before.  There is still not a permanent provision for future funding.  Until such funding is permanently earmarked, we’re going to come up against this threat every year.

However, we do need to enjoy this victory today!  Thanks to everyone who helped to make this happen, and regardless of where you live, take a minute to thank Congressman Crawford, Senator Mark Pryor, and Senator John Boozman for helping us out…  here is their contact information:

US Senator (from Arkansas) John Boozman (contact)
US Senator (from Arkansas) Mark Pryor (contact)
US Representative (from Arkansas) District 1 – Rick Crawford (contact)

Do you want to help more?  Join the Friends of the Norfork Hatchery!

Friends of the Norfork Federal Fish Hatchery
We all need FRIENDS!

In closing, we want to wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

see you on the river…

Your White River Trout Diva
His Place Resort
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