Aug 05 2016
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) today applauded the completion of a new water intake system at Willow Beach National Fish Hatchery in Mohave County, Arizona. After a catastrophic failure to the system in 2014, Senator McCain worked with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) to develop an affordable and reasonable solution to repair the pipeline and restore trout-stocking operations, which supports around 1,700 jobs and generates approximately $75 million in economic activity along the Mohave County/Clark County stretch of the Lower Colorado River.
“I’m very pleased that USFWS has completed repairs to the water intake pipeline at Willow Beach National Fish Hatchery and trout-stocking operations are finally back up-and-running,” said Senator McCain. “After numerous discussions at the federal and local level, we were able to develop an affordable solution to moving these critical repairs forward and ensure trout-stocking continues to support the economy in Mohave County. I want to commend USFWS, AZGFD, community leaders, and anglers and businesses for their important efforts, and look forward to seeing trout-stocking operations continue to have an tremendous impact on the local and state economy.”
“After a catastrophic infrastructure failure, we worked collaboratively with Senator McCain and the Arizona Congressional delegation, Mohave County, and Arizona Game and Fish Department to solve the problem,” said Dr. Benjamin Tuggle, Regional Director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Southwest Region. “It’s been a long time in coming, and we understand the concerns of anglers and the tourism industry in the Lake Mohave area to get this project back on line. We are pleased to have the hatchery back in operation to produce important fish.”
In August 2014, Senator McCain toured the Willow Beach National Fish Hatchery near Bullhead City, Arizona, and was briefed on a variety of engineering plans to repair the hatchery’s damaged pipelines. Preliminary cost estimates for repairs totaled up to $9 million dollars. Senator McCain urged USFWS to coordinate with Mohave County and AZGFD to develop a single affordable and reasonable solution to move repairs forward. In March 2015, USFWS and AZGFD finalized an agreement to begin restoring trout stocking operations at Willow Beach. Under the agreement, USFWS and AZGFD would split the costs of repairing the hatchery’s water intake system and secure a supply of trout eggs that will guarantee production for at least the next five years – and likely more.
According to an analysis provided by AZGFD, trout-fishing supports around 1,700 jobs and generates approximately $75 million in economic activity along the Mohave County/Clark County stretch of the Lower Colorado River. Trout-stocking is important to the area’s angling community and falls under the federal government’s longstanding responsibility to mitigate for lost fishing opportunities resulting from the construction of the Hoover Dam.