At a meeting in Washington Tuesday, Senator John Hoeven told U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Director Dan Ashe that the national fish hatcheries at Garrison Dam and Valley City are cost-effective, valuable assets in helping to preserve world-class fisheries in North Dakota. He also made the case that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service needs to fund them in partnership with the North Dakota Department of Game and Fish. Ashe assured the senator that 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.
The Corps and Bureau of Reclamation have historically 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 USFWS to produce hatchery-raised fish to restock impacted waters.
Hoeven told the director that the hatcheries are a tremendous success in North Dakota, maintaining a unique partnership with state Game and Fish officials and keeping North Dakota fisheries healthy and productive. 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. "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."