Subject:Federal Trout Hatcheries Funding Update and Correction
In an article posted on April 16, 2012 in Arkansas News Bureau, News, Sports by Joe Mosby, the article stated “— a top official with the USFWS informed him (Director Loren Hitchcock) that means of funding the Norfork and Greer’s Ferry hatcheries had been found.” The article did indicate that “the word is unofficial”.
After contacting the Region 4 District of the USFWS and contacting Senator Pryor, Senator Bozeman and Congressman Rick Crawford’s offices, the statements proved to be inaccurate. The funding for the nine mitigation hatcheries which include Norfork NFH and Greer’s Ferry NFH, have indeed been funded for the FY2012 which is this year and ends on October 1, 2012. The total amount of the FY2012 funding is $7.2 million made up of $3.4 million from the USFWS and $3.8 million from the USCOE.
The Federal Budget for FY2013 was released on February 13, 2012 andcontained $4.3 million from the USCOE and $600,000 from the Bureau of Reclamation. No funding is included from the USFWS or TVA for the nine mitigation hatcheries. This leaves a shortfall of $2.3 million for FY2013. The US Senate and the US House of Representatives are currently holding sub-committee meetings regarding the FY2013 budget. Our AR Congressional Representatives are working with these committees to restore the necessary funding for the mitigation hatcheries. It is a long and arduous process that takes months to resolve. Last year, the budget was not finalized until Dec. 15, 2011. Since this is an election year, it is the consensus of our Congressional Representatives that the FY2013 budget will be not be finalized until after the November elections. In the meantime, discussions and meetings are being held to negotiate the reinstatement of the necessary funds for the mitigation hatcheries. This will include the Norfork and Greer’s Ferry NFH.
As with any federal budget, there will be compromises made and the final outcome is still in doubt until the budget is finalized. However, at the moment, the AR hatcheries are funded through Oct. 1, 2012. It remains to be determined whether Congress will be successful in restoring the necessary funding for these hatcheries into FY2013.
There have been a number of meetings regarding the permanent funding solutions that would eliminate this annual crisis. As AR citizens we need to keep in contact with our Congressional Representatives to promote the permanent full funding for one of our most valuable resources.
Submitted by:Leon L. Alexander
President, Friends of the Norfork NFH