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WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE     Print Version
NEWS RELEASE
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091


November 14, 1997
Contact: Margaret Ainscough (360) 902-2408

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Congress agrees to restore hatchery funding

Three lower Columbia River fish hatcheries will remain open after Congress budget negotiators agreed to restore funding this week.

The agreement reached by negotiators for the House and Senate restores $1.1 million for operation of the Grays River, Elochoman and Fallert Creek hatcheries. U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton and other members of the state's congressional delegation intervened to restore the hatchery funding.

In September the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife announced that the three hatcheries would be closed because of proposed federal funding cuts for Mitchell Act hatcheries. The Mitchell Act was passed by Congress in 1938 and amended in 1946. The Klickitat Hatchery near Goldendale, built in 1949, was the first Washington state fish hatchery constructed with Mitchell Act funds.

"We are thankful that Congress provided funding that will allow us to move forward not only for continued future fisheries but also to rebuild natural spawning fish populations in Southwest Washington," said WDFW Director Bern Shanks.

Fishers off the Washington coast, at the mouth of the Columbia and along its tributaries will benefit from the hatchery funding, Shanks added.

The three affected hatcheries annually produce almost 1.8 million coho, 7.7 million fall chinook and 500,000 spring chinook.