D.C. Booth is still not safe. Despite Congress stipulating no hatchery closures and mandating that the full D.C. Booth archives collection remain on-site for Fiscal Year 2016, the hatchery continues to be targeted by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Regional and Washington DC offices. Staff has been reduced from 6 full-time employees to ONLY ONE EMPLOYEE.
Please call or write the South Dakota Delegation and encourage them to keep fighting to get federal staffing positions re-filled at the hatchery. This is a great overview of our current situation:
Thanks to advocacy efforts and Congressional support, D.C. Booth will be open through October 2016. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service had been planning on removing the National Fish Hatchery System archives collection to the east coast in 2015 & 2016 but Congress had specific language added to the Omnibus Appropriations bill that will prevent them from moving the archives this year (2016) - thank you to Senator Thune, Senator Rounds, Representative Noem and many other senators from across the nation. The National Fish Hatchery System archives are written into the hatchery's mission statement - they are the hatchery's main reason for exisitence. The archives at D.C. Booth is the largest fisheries related collection in the United States and brings in research requests and researchers visiting Spearfish from around the country and world.
Omnibus Appropriations Bill language for Fiscal Year 2016: "None of the funds may be used to terminate operations or to close any facility of the National Fish Hatchery System."
Representative Kristi Noem sent a letter regarding the 2016 Appropriations Bill language:
Omnibus Appropriations Bill language from 2015 (see page 10 & 11):
Newspaper article highlight the passing of the Omnibus Bill & the Intent of Congress - a good read that summarizes the situation very well!
In the spring of 2014, the Booth Society submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) to find out what plans they had for the archives - but most of that information was redacted. However, the FOIA request did prove that the hatchery was definitely going to be shut down in the fall of 2013, but that advocacy measures stopped the shutdown from happening. The FOIA also proved that the decision to close the hatchery was not based on a lack of funding - what it was based on is still unknown. It is known that moving the entire archives collection to the National Conservation Training Center in West Virginia would not have saved the USFWS any money for many years.
Here are some articles from our regional publications:
Spearfish's Best Kept Secret: D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery - Horse Country Living (article starts on p.26)
The most important thing you can do to help secure the Hatchery's future beyond Sept. 2016 is to send a letter of support to Secretary Sally Jewell for adequately re-staffing U.S. Fish & WIldlife Service (USFWS) employees at D.C. Booth, and highlighting the youth education that occurs at the hatchery. You may also send letters or call the S.D. Congressional delegates (you do not have to be a SD citizen). You can also make a donation or sign up for a membership with our organization, the Booth Society. We are the nonprofit fisheries friends group of the hatchery that has spearheaded the advocacy campaign from the beginning. Your monetary donation will help with additional advocacy costs for the current fiscal year 2016. Click here for more information on donations and memberships.
Ask your co-workers, friends, neighbors, family and associates to send a letter or call their senators and representatives today!
Contact Secretary Jewell and the USFWS.
WRITE, VISIT or CALL your representatives. You may also email them through their website. You DO NOT have to be a resident of South Dakota to write to SD delegates. You may also want to write to your state senators and represenatives about this projected closure and the planned closures of other fish hatcheries nationwide, such as Leadville National Fish Hatchery in Colorado (est. 1889) and numerous hatcheries in the southeast.
To expedite your effort to write to Secretary Jewell or the USFWS, we have provided addresses below.
Here are our letters we've been sending (please feel free to print and send yourself):
PLEASE USE THIS TEXT, SIMPLY ADD THE RECIPIENT AND ADDRESS (FOUND IN THE LIST BELOW) BEFORE YOU PRINT OFF AND SEND.
Recipient name and title
City, State and Zip Code
I am a U.S. citizen who is concerned about the future U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) funding and staffing levels at the D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery & Archives in Spearfish, SD. I value the Hatchery; I’d like to thank you for your ongoing efforts to save this beautiful historic attraction and ask you keep fighting to keep it open and operating.
For the past two years closure attempts by the FWS have been stopped by advocacy efforts of the Booth Society, South Dakota Congressional Delegation, and the American public. Despite Congress stipulating no hatchery closures, “the National Fishery Artifacts and Records Center and the Collection Management Facility, shall be maintained in its current location” (Spearfish), and adding millions of dollars to FWS fisheries budget, the FWS continues looking for loopholes to move ahead with abandoning the facility.
The FWS have reduced staff at the hatchery to one person, essentially placing D.C. Booth in caretaker status. There were six employees when the closure threats started; since May of 2015 there has been only one FWS employee at the hatchery. The hatchery receives over 160,000 visitors annually and is on the National Historic Register.
The FWS needs to re-fill required full-time personnel positions at D.C. Booth, including a curator, archives technician, maintenance chief and park ranger. A project leader is also a required position for the facility. A full-time curator and archives technician are needed to maintain the archives. The FWS is obligated to protect and maintain the historical and cultural resources within their agency, including the D.C. Booth grounds and archives.
If Congress fails to include language specific to the D.C. Booth archives, funding and staffing in the FY17 appropriation bill, the nation will lose a unique piece of American conservation history and access to the nation’s largest fisheries related archives.
Please continue the fight to save the D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery & Archives.
Your printed name and address:
We've added two new addresses for you to send to US Fish and Wildlife personnel, including Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewel.
The Honorable Sally Jewell
U.S. Dept. of the Interior
1849 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20240
Senator John Thune
Washington DC Office
United States Senate SD-511
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-2321
Senator Mike Rounds
Washington DC Office
Hart Senate Office Bldg., Suite 502
Washington, DC 20510
Represenative Kristi Noem
2422 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
-Address letter in following form: The Honorable [Member Name]
[U.S. House of Representatives or United States Senate]
-Salutation: Dear Senator OR Representative [insert last name]
Use the above sample text as the basis for your letter. Or write one from scratch. The more you customize, the better. Legislators value original letters more than form letters.
Sincerely/Yours truly/or your favored choice of words,
*Your address (Address is very important. It enables the legislator to identify you as a real constituent.)
This message is through the Booth Society, Inc., the official nonprofit friends group of D.C. Booth Historic Fish Hatchery. Its content does not reflect the official views of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.