Public comments still sought on Arizona fish stocking program Two remaining open houses scheduled for Nov. 24 and 25

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November 24th, 2008

Anglers of all ages enjoy fishing stocked waters in various parts of the state.The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Arizona Game and Fish Department are seeking public comments on issues associated with all the sport-fish stockings in the state as part of a draft environmental assessment process that is required to continue using federal funding for stocking activities in Arizona.

Public input is being sought to determine the extent and variety of issues that should be addressed by the draft environmental assessment.

Written comments can be sent to either:

  • David Weedman, Aquatic Habitat Program Coordinator, Arizona Game and Fish Department, 5000 W. Carefree Highway, Phoenix, AZ 85086.
    E-mail: fishaz@azgfd.gov

    or

  • Harold Namminga, Sport Fish Restoration Grant Administrator, Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, P.O Box 1306, Albuquerque, NM 87103.

All comments must be submitted in writing no later than 5 p.m. on Dec. 19.

There are also two remaining open houses (one was already held in Pinetop on Nov. 17) that will give the public the opportunity to ask questions and submit written comment. The open houses are scheduled for:

  • Tucson, Monday, Nov. 24, 6:30 p.m., Arizona Game and Fish Department Region V office, 555 N. Greasewood Road.

  • Phoenix, Tuesday, Nov. 25, 6:30 p.m., Arizona Game and Fish Department Headquarters, 5000 W. Carefree Highway.

Once the comment period ends, the wildlife agencies will prepare a draft environmental assessment to evaluate the social, economic and environmental effects of stockings related to continue funding for the program through the Sport Fish Restoration Program.

Arizona’s natural fish fauna historically consisted of 36 species of fish, only a few of which were traditionally sought by early Americans for sport fishing, which is a trend that continues today.

Since the early 1900s, the Arizona Game and Fish Department and other agencies have supplemented recreational angling opportunities by stocking state waters with sport fish species.

“Fish stockings have evolved over the past 100 years or so to meet growing needs of anglers in Arizona,” says Dave Weedman, aquatic habitat program coordinator for the Arizona Game and Fish Department. “Now we consider a wide range of factors when determining where and when to stock fish, including biology, angler use, partnership commitments and needs, native fish impacts and social demands.”

The stocking program in Arizona is supported with federal funds through the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Program, along with state funds from the sale of licenses and trout stamps.

Recreational angling in Arizona totaled 4,156,000 angling days in 2006, creating a statewide economic impact of more than $1.1 billion annually.

For more information, visit www.azgfd.gov/fishea.

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