Hatcheries at risk again…..but it’s different this time!

Connecticut Anglers:

Fish hatcheries, and the programs they make possible, are again being put at risk due to the state’s budget deficit.

In this case, the worst case scenario is not a loss of funding or cuts directed specifically at the hatcheries but the inability of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Natural Resources to sufficiently staff the facilities.

The state has instituted a hard hiring freeze and has issued layoff notices to workers. Maintainer positions were part of this layoff and those with the least seniority were the first targeted in this layoff. Unfortunately, this included three of the 14 total staff who operate the hatcheries. In addition, two more positions will be lost, including a supervisor, due to voluntary departures this summer. In 2009, the hatcheries were staffed by 22 people.

These departures would leave fish and wildlife officials with nine total staff to operate three hatcheries -an impossible task. The result could be closure of a hatchery; regardless of how many hatcheries remain open, the number of trout available for stocking could be reduced from 650,000 to as few as 350,000. That’s fewer fish stocked for anglers, and a serious risk for programs such as Trout in the Classroom and Salmon in the Schools, which according to DEEP statistics allowed 10,000 to 15,000 Connecticut students to get hands-on, cross-curricular exposure to the environment and fish, and crucially helps create the next generation of anglers and conservationists.

The next generation of anglers is key to the future of fish and fishing in Connecticut. Programs such as the hatcheries are funded by license fees and taxes on hunting and fishing equipment.

The looming cuts put at risk not only current revenues from fishing licenses brought in by resident anglers but another $40 million, if not more, in revenue to local economies, paid directly by the more than 100,000 anglers from near and far who make 1.5 million trips to Connecticut to fish. The loss of non-resident licenses would be even more devastating, as those anglers pay more to access to the legendary trout rivers of Connecticut in the Housatonic and Farmington river systems.

Whether or not you fish for trout, you need to care about this. Connecticut sportsmen cannot be divided on any of these issues, because the next cuts could hit the pursuit of species of interest to you.

With the legislature about to return to Hartford to attempt to craft a now-late budget, anglers need to speak now. Use this fact sheet (click here) to call or email your state senators and representatives, as well as Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. In your email or letter, state your name and if you belong to an organization, the name of the organization to which you belong. Let them know that the revenue that would be generated by fully staffed hatcheries would more than fund the programs for which sportsmen already foot the bill. The fact sheet (click here) will help outline what to say. Please feel free to send the entire fact sheet to your legislator but please let them know in your own words why this is important to you as a constituent.

Thank you for your time and support.

 

How to contact your legislator:

Click here to find your legislator (click on the name to get contact information).

Contact Governor Malloy:

 

Office of the Governor
State Capitol
210 Capitol Avenue
Hartford, CT 06106

Phone Number: (860) 566-4840

Or click here to send an email.

Campground Cookout – Saturday, August 12th

NOON TIL ??? – Join our happy campers for some food and fishing at our annual campground cookout at Austin F. Hawes Memorial Campground in Barkhamstead. We provide the burgers and dogs, you bring a side or dessert. You do not need to have a campsite to attend. Check back here for site information and cancellation information if the weather looks threatening as the date gets closer.

The cookout will take place at Site #20. You must park in the parking area near the campground office and walk in. Click here for location information.

Trout In The Classroom

Trout in the Classroom is a conservation-oriented environmental education program for elementary, middle, and high school students. Through the school year, students raise trout from eggs to fry and then release them into approved cold water streams and lakes. This act of raising, monitoring, and caring for young trout fosters a conservation ethic within participating students and promotes an understanding of their shared water resources.

Are you a teacher that would like to know more about the Trout in the Classroom program?  Please contact Carl Swanson at carl.swanson@comcast.net or at 860-605-9249.

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Project Healing Waters

Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing:  (PHWFF) is a program started in 2005 at Walter Reed Medical Center to help disabled veterans heal through fly fishing. There are over 160 programs nationally in support of our veterans. Our chapter along with the Candlewood chapter has been supporting a program at the Newington VAMC since May 2012.  We support a group of over 20 veterans with monthly sessions of fly tying, casting instructions and on water fishing outings. Volunteer help is always appreciated and anyone interested in supporting our program can contact Jim Iannone 860-916-8082 jdiannone@comcast.net.  More information is also available at www.projecthealingwaters.org. FVTU is proud and honored to offer this program to veterans in the Hartford area.

2015-2016 Stats

  • Currently we have 81 vets signed up for the program with about 20 attending monthly meetings on a regular basis
  • Currently we have 75 volunteers signed up with 20 attending monthly meetings on a regular basis.
  • Last year we had 3 outings with the vets and volunteers
    • Zak’s Landing located in Riverton, CT
    • Limestone Trout Club located in New Canaan, CT
    • Dr. Schildgen’s Pond located in Litchfield. CT

 

AN URGENT CALL FOR INSTRUCTIONAL VCR TAPES AND DVDs – If you have any instructional VCR tapes or DVDs on fishing and/or fly tying subjects, please consider donating them for the program to use!