GOLD BAR (Snohomish County)---Sports fishers are donating time and money in an effort to keep a popular steelhead hatchery here open past the end of the year.
The Reiter Ponds hatchery, which annually produces about 260,000 summer-run steelhead, 240,000 winter-run steelhead and 10,000 golden trout for the Snohomish River system and other locations in the region, was scheduled to close June 30 because of Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) budget cuts.
The hatchery was among several fish production facilities targeted for closure as a result of an $11 million WDFW budget shortfall last year. The facility costs $130,000 a year to operate.
The Department agreed to delay closure of the hatchery until December 31, however, after sports fishers and fishing club representatives offered to donate volunteer time and raise money for its continued operation. Sports fishers and community representatives also agreed to pursue funding during the next legislative session to keep the hatchery operating.
Donations for the Reiter Ponds hatchery may be mailed to: Cathy Drew, General Accounting, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, 600 Capitol Way N., Olympia, WA 98501-1091. Checks should be made payable to Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife--Reiter Ponds Fund.