October 05, 2010

Idaho Hatchery Hearings Set

Lewiston, Boise sessions set at request of Idaho Congressional Delegation

Washington, D.C. - Idahoans will have two chances to comment on new rules governing the operation of anadromous fish hatcheries. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has issued a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) concerning operation and funding of hatchery programs under the Mitchell Act. Idaho has more than 30 programs that qualify.

NOAA Fisheries informed the Idaho Delegation today that hearings will be scheduled:
Lewiston October 13 Lewiston Community Center, 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Boise October 27 Red Lion Hotel, 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.

Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch and Congressmen Mike Simpson and Walt Minnick wrote to NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenko in late August, seeking hearings in Idaho.

"Considering our country's challenging budgetary situation, ongoing litigation over the Federal Columbia River Power System's 2008 Biological Opinion, and the need to ensure that federal policy is improving the status of threatened and endangered species, we are hopeful that this DEIS will produce favorable results for anadromous fish on the Columbia River System," the Delegation members wrote, noting that Idaho had not previously been scheduled to host hearings.

"We are concerned, however, that NOAA Fisheries has not scheduled any public meetings on the DEIS in Idaho. Currently, 36 anadromous fish hatchery programs are located in Idaho, so it seems necessary that Idahoans be afforded the opportunity to learn more about the DEIS and how it could affect their communities. As such, we request that NOAA Fisheries schedule two meetings in Idaho - one in Boise and one in Lewiston - so that interested Idahoans may be heard on this important matter."