A recently completed deal with the federal government has transferred management of the Hagerman National Fish Hatchery to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.
Ten facilities throughout Idaho, Oregon and Washington make up the Lower Snake River Compensation Program. The Hagerman hatchery was the outlier of the bunch; it was the only one under federal control.
The facilities, which raise steelhead and salmon, were put in place to make up for losses caused by the development of hydroelectric dams along the Snake.
Jim Fredericks, the chief of the fisheries bureau for Idaho Fish and Game, says the deal to transfer control to the state was years in the making but the stars only aligned recently.
“Oh, there’d been discussions going back to, I believe 2013,” Fredericks recollects. “The discussion actually is fairly old, and then it was renewed recently. There’s been a little bit of a change in the tone of the federal government and working more cooperatively with the states and management of fish and wildlife, so that was part of it.”
Fredericks says funding is secured and that state management of the hatchery is actually cheaper than if it were run by federal personnel.
Over the summer, state employees learned the operation and got firsthand experience in Hagerman. Fredericks says the federal employees who previously staffed the facility found other jobs.
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