On Monday, June 3, a work session will be held for Senate Bill 5510, which “appropriates moneys from General Fund to State Department of Fish and Wildlife for certain biennial expenses.”
Leaburg Fish Hatchery advocate Sean Davis says one thing the bill does not allocate money for is the hatchery. Davis has been attempting to save the hatchery, which previously provided trout that are stocked along the McKenzie River for the area’s recreation and fishing industry.
Back in 2015 the Army Corps of Engineers, which owns the Leaburg hatchery and ran it in cooperation with ODFW, told the hatchery it would change from a longtime cooperative agreement to contracts. In March 2017, the corps put the trout contract out to competitive bid, and the Leaburg hatchery lost to a private trout grower on Oregon’s east side.
Leaburg hatchery was scheduled to close June 30, 2018, but on the last day of that year’s legislative short session, lawmakers provided $350,000 in bridge funding to operate the hatchery through June 30, 2019.
Davis says Reps. Floyd Prozanski and Cedric Hayden had introduced an amendment to SB 5510 that would fund the hatchery, but it was removed. Davis says McKenzie River area community members are organizing buses to go to Salem and attend the 1 pm Monday work session of the Joint Subcommittee On Natural Resources at the Oregon State Legislature. The group will meet at noon on the Capitol steps.
Davis and others have complained about the quality of the fish from the other hatchery, and Davis has said he is specifically concerned about the affects of the closure on the McKenzie River economy.
Find out more about efforts to save the hatchery at the Save the Leaburg Fish Hatchery Facebook page.