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  • Saturday, April 25, 2009

    On The Desk

    SB 425
    AWAITING SIGNATURE

    Mostly A Good Idea
    feds pay costs for awhile
    .. SB 425 was transmitted to Governor Brian Schweitzer for signature yesterday. He is expected to sign the bill.
    .. The full time operation of Fort Peck Hatchery will incur additional operating costs of $80,000 per year. This burden will be covered by federal Wallop-Breaux funds through 2012.
    .. In 2012 the Montana Warm Water Stamp will be eliminated and state funding will be supplied from the general license fund. The estimated cost, to the state, of hatchery operation in 2013 is $243,616.
    .. In 2014 the total cost of operations for Fort Peck Hatchery is estimated to be $436,059. This money will come from the general license funds.
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    .. The Fort Peck Hatchery was built by the Corps of Engineers and completed in 2006. It is operated by the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks and sits on federal land leased by the state.
    .. Since completion it has operated at less than capacity. It has been both under-used and under-funded.
    .. In anticipation of completion the state instituted the $5 warm water stamp in 1999. This has been the primary source of funding for the facility and it has been insufficient to fully utilize the available 22,000-sq.-foot hatchery.
    .. Up until now the hatchery has been essentially idle after the annual walleye production has been completed. SB 425 will change that. The facility is capable of producing tiger muskies, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, channel catfish, sauger, and the endangered pallid sturgeon, in addition to the walleye.
    .. The hatchery could also produce trout if Montana law would allow it. Currently trout that are planted in the eastern part of the state are trucked in from other hatcheries at a cost of thousands of dollars in gasoline and staff time.
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    .. We look for a $1 - $2 increase in license fees to take place in the next year or two to support the full funding and operation of the hatchery. We suspect that there is already a draft bill for the production of trout at the facility. This will relieve the burden on the state's other 7 hatcheries.
    .. We commend the legislature for this straightforward approach to funding. We commend them for rejecting the thinly veiled attempt at funding in the guise of declaring the walleye a native fish. And, we commend them for placing the burden of funding on the population of users.
    --> SB 425 Language
    --> SB 425 History
    --> SB 425 Fiscal Note
    --> FWP Funding Page
    --> FWP Quick Facts for Fort Peck
    --> All 8 Montana Hatcheries
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    .. Well, time for steak and eggs. With all due respect to the 2008 "Orvis Fly-Tyer of The Year," Greg Senyo; we'll eat ours before yours.