U.S. Senators Mark Pryor and John Boozman and Congressmen Rick Crawford (AR-1) and Tim Griffin (AR-2) issued the following statements as the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service today announced that it would begin a thorough review of mitigation hatchery facilities across the country for their economic viability:
"It took countless phone calls, letters, and refusing to take "no' for an answer, but I'm glad we were able to convince the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to keep our fish hatcheries open. The Greers Ferry and Norfork Fish Hatcheries are economic engines for our state, supporting thousands of jobs and contributing millions in economic activity. I'll continue to work with the Interior, FWS, and the Arkansas delegation on a responsible long-term solution to keep these hatcheries open," Pryor said.
"These hatcheries replenish fisheries that were impacted by the construction of federal dams on our rivers, so the continued operation of these hatcheries is a must," said Boozman. "Working together, the Arkansas delegation has been able to keep our hatcheries open. We are reviewing the priorities of the Fish and Wildlife Service. As the Ranking Member of the Senate Water and Wildlife Subcommittee, I will hold the agency accountable as they plan and budget for future years."
"The Greers Ferry and Norfork mitigation hatcheries in Arkansas' First District have proven their critical importance to our state's economy, supporting thousands of jobs and generating over one hundred million dollars in economic output between the two of them," said Crawford. "Congress must continue to work toward long-term solutions to preserve funding for these facilities, and my bill, H.R. 2261, is one such creative approach that will protect the future of mitigation hatcheries across the country."
"I'm proud to support Rep. Crawford's bill to protect hatcheries like the ones at Greers Ferry and Norfork from being closed. These facilities were built to replace fisheries eliminated by federal water development projects, and the federal government should maintain them. Thousands of jobs depend on it, and I'm committed to working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to keep them open," Griffin said.