Hatchery's needs heard by federal delegation
By Chris Gessele, BHG News Service
Garrison Dam National Fish Hatchery manager Rob Holm didn't expect company May 29, though his visitors were very welcome. Those visitors were North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven and Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, and they were with several high-ranking U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials on a two-day review of dikes, levees and other operations of the Missouri River Mainstem System from Montana to Missouri. The senators were assessing damages incurred from the historic 2011 Missouri River floods, reviewing the progress of repairs, and working to determine how the Corps can better manage flood protection in the future. Their visit to the Garrison Dam fish hatchery allowed the U.S. legislators to see hatchery operations up close and enabled Holm to speak to them in person of the hatchery's importance in the face of federal budget cuts. After facing major funding uncertainties last year, the hatchery faced the same bleak picture this year until receiving word from Hoeven in March that federal funding for the Garrison Dam hatchery and Valley City hatchery was secured through 2013. Generally, the funding is granted on a year-by-year basis.