I just can’t believe it… well, actually – I can… I told you all last year about the proposed Federal Budget Cuts that threatened to shut down our nation’s cold-water mitigation hatcheries (read: where all the trout come from…)
I put a web page on our main website talking about the effects, and asked you all to get involved… and I also told you that until permanent funding has been provided for, that we would be right back where we started every year… and here we are, folks…
Leon Alexander from the Friends of the Norfork Hatchery Group gives the details in the following announcement…
Breaking News!! The Presidents 2013 Budget was released on February 13 and according to a USFWS Bureau Highlights document, the mitigation hatcheries, including Norfork National Fish Hatchery and Greer’s Ferry National Fish Hatchery were not included for funding. The following is an excerpt from page BH-61 of that document.
“Fisheries and Aquatic Resource Conservation – The budget request includes a total $131.6 million for the Fisheries and Aquatic Resource program, a decrease of $3.7 million from the 2012 level. ……………… These increases are offset by reductions in other program activities, including a $3.2 million program reduction to costs associated with the production of fish for the purpose of mitigating the effects of Federal water development projects. The FWS will continue to work to recover costs from responsible agencies in order to focus its base funding on native fish recovery and restoration.”
For the second consecutive year, the USFWS has eliminated funding from their proposed budget for the nine mitigation hatcheries which includes the Norfork NFH and Greer’s Ferry NFH in spite of the successful efforts by Congress to reinstate the funding into the 2012 Budget. These AR Hatcheries have an economic impact of $100 for every $1 of operating costs.
Attached are copies of letters to each of the congressional representatives from Arkansas urging them to see that this budget situation is corrected. Not only do we need the funding re-instated; we need to get the situation fixed so we don’t have to go through this process each and every year as we have done for so many years. Please feel free to alter the letters to suit your own thoughts. We do need to get our letter writing campaign underway as soon as possible.
Copies of these letters will be available at the upcoming Sowbug Roundup in Mountain Home. You can sign a letter there and it will be mailed for you. Impact is the goal and the more letters we send in, the greater that impact.
Below are the form letters (in MS Word format) that you can utilize to make your feelings known. We need YOU to let them know that we are not going to take this sitting down!
Additionally, we added a page to the main website last year that has a lot more detail on this whole issue if you’d like to read up on this subject; click HERE.
Once again, we thank you for your help, and will continue to keep you informed about what’s going on with the River!