Thanks to advocacy efforts and Congressional support, D.C. Booth will be open in 2015! The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service had been planning on removing the National Fish Hatchery System archives collection to the east coast in 2015 but Congress had specific language added to the Omnibus Appropriations bill that will prevent them from moving the archives this year (2015) - thank you to Senator Johnson, Senator Thune, Representative Noem and many other senators from across the nation!
Omnibus Appropriations Bill language (see page 10 and 11):
We are still uncertain of the future of the remaining USFWS staff here at D.C. Booth and of the amount of funding that the hatchery will receive, but at least D.C. Booth will be open with the full archives intact! 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.
Newspaper article highlight the passing of the Omnibus Bill & the Intent of Congress - a good read that summarizes the situation very well!
This past spring of 2014, we (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 our 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. 2015 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 to the S.D. Congressional delegates (you do not have to be a SD citizen), and to the USFWS. 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 2015. 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 writing in support of support of keeping the D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery & Archives in Spearfish, South Dakota, funded and adequately staffed with full-time U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) employees including a project leader, curator, archives technician and maintenance chief. I am also writing in support of keping the entire archives collection at D.C. Booth.
Removing the archives from D.C. Booth would be like removing a vital organ. A $4 million appropriation from Congress in the early 1990’s resulted in the construction of the Collection Management Facility, which provides DOI compliant storage for the 175,000 item collection. Having the archives at D.C. Booth has been instrumental in our historical designation, the National Fish Culture Hall of Fame being on-site, educational and youth initiatives, and volunteer programming (14,000 hrs/yr). Removing the archives will eliminate our identity, reduce our volunteer hours and affect visitation.
The FWS is planning on removing the best and most valuable artifacts of the archive collection and transferring them to the National Conservation Training Center (NCTC) in West Virginia. NCTC is largely closed-off and inaccessible to the general public. D.C. Booth receives 150,000 visitors per year, all who learn about the mission of the FWS through the artifacts on display at the hatchery. Why deny our nation’s youth and public from continuing to learn about America’s rich fisheries and conservation past, present and future?
Why take any archives if they are going to leave some? Don't the items left behind warrant the same care and protection by a professional curator and archivist? FWS have informed Senator Johnson they have no intent of re-filling the curator position at DC Booth. They told Black Hills Pioneer newspaper that NCTC would ship artifacts to DC Booth for changing out exhibits in the museum. Furthermore, NCTC does not have adequate space for more items and would have to spend a significant amount of money on additional DOI compliant storage. The FWS is citing moving the archives and reducing staff as a money saving endeavor. However, they have failed to provide a cost-benefit analysis. It sure seems like this will cost the FWS much more money than if they were to keep D.C. Booth open with staffing and the full archives remaining on-site.
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
Acting Assistant Secretary
Fish, Wildlife and Parks
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
1849 C St. NW
Washington, DC 20240
Director U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
1849 C St. NW
Room 3331 Washington, DC 20240
Regional Director U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, CO 80228
-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.