Booth Society, Inc., the nonprofit fisheries friends group of D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery & Archives, learned Sept. 18 that there is a plan in place to keep the Hatchery operating in the short-term.
April Gregory, executive director of the Booth Society, received a call from Senator Tim Johnson’s (D-SD) office late Tuesday afternoon. Johnson’s staff informed Gregory that Johnson pressed Mike Conner, the nominee for Deputy Secretary of Interior, about the pending hatchery closures nationwide, specifically D.C. Booth, during Connor’s confirmation hearing. Connor currently serves as Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation.
This confirms that the Hatchery is safe for now; however, it doesn’t put the Hatchery in the clear for all of Fiscal Year 2014.
In the early 1990′s, Johnson was instrumental in securing Congressional funding to transform the Spearfish National Fish Hatchery into the D.C. Booth facility we know today. As a result the station has become an informational and educational showcase of fish hatchery operations in the United States.
“The survival of the hatchery is vital, and it is important to be sure we don’t permanently lose key federal sites while navigating current budget pressures,” Johnson said. “In response to my questions, Mr. Connor indicated that the Department of Interior has a short-term strategy to maintain funding for Spearfish and other hatcheries, and that the Department will work with members of Congress on the long-term sustainability of their budgets. This is great news for Spearfish, and I’ll continue to do all I can to keep D.C. Booth up and running.
“The Booth Society greatly appreciates Senator Johnson for his work supporting the D.C. Booth hatchery,” Gregory said. “We also appreciate the efforts of Sen. Thune and Rep. Noem, who are also working hard on our behalf.
“The Booth Society will continue doing all it can to keep the hatchery open under the continued operations of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.” Gregory encouraged the public to continue signing letters – new and updated letters have been added to their website at www.dcboothfishhatchery.org.