Rep. Gosar Presses Fish and Wildlife Service on Willow Beach Hatchery Promises
For Immediate Release
Contact: Steven D. Smith
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) wrote a letter addressed to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Director Dan Ashe seeking answers to the future of the rainbow trout stocking program at the Willow Beach National Fish Hatchery:
“On July 25, 2014, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs Subcommittee held a hearing on my legislation, H.R. 5026, the Fish Hatchery Protection Act. Some troubling things were revealed at the hearing. Namely, that USFWS failed to hold a public comment period and did not consider job losses or associated economic impact before terminating important recreational fishing programs. Even Deputy Director Steve Guertin testified, ‘This was not our [USFWS] finest hour’.
“The Deputy Director went on to testify that USFWS did not consider 1,700 jobs in Mohave County and $75 million in economic output associated with the Willow Beach Hatchery or the 4,000 jobs and $80 million in payroll nationally before terminating rainbow trout stocking programs throughout the country. I call on USFWS to find a solution for the Willow Beach Hatchery and resume the rainbow trout stocking program as soon as humanly possible."
Congressman Gosar’s letter to Director Ashe can be found in its entirety HERE.
Below is the exchange during the July 25, 2014 hearing highlighting Deputy Director Guertin testimony including his statement in regards to reinstating the trout propagation program at the Willow Beach Hatchery:
Rep. Gosar: The Fish and Wildlife Service stated in a letter to this Subcommittee sent on May 30, 2014 that the reason for terminating the rainbow trout stocking program at the time was that the agency didn’t have the 1.5 to 8.5 million dollars to repair a broken water [supply] line and to keep the trout stocking program going… Recent engineering reports indicate that these estimates were a gross exaggeration and that the broken water [supply] line would only cost around $100,000 to fix. If the water, now listen very carefully, if the water supply line is fixed, does the Fish and Wildlife Service plan to reinstate the trout propagation program at the Willow Beach Hatchery?
Deputy Director Guertin: I believe we would, yes.