Public comments sought on draft Environmental Assessment for continued fish stocking in Arizona

Payson Roundup

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) Tuesday made available for public review a draft Environmental Assessment (dEA) of Arizona’s sport fish stocking program.

The dEA is part of a process to continue to allow federal Sport Fish Restoration funding to support AZGFD’s long-standing program of stocking fish for public recreational opportunities, and for hatchery operations and maintenance. The deadline to submit comments is 5 p.m. (Arizona time) on June 11, 2021.

Each year, thousands of anglers in Arizona take advantage of the fish stocking program, which is funded in part by federal dollars from the Sport Fish Restoration Program and augmented by state dollars from fishing license sales.

Every 10 years, USFWS and AZGFD evaluate the social, economic and environmental effects of Arizona’s stocking program, and pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), prepare a dEA that analyzes possible actions or alternatives. The preferred alternative for the agencies, also known as the Proposed Action, would allow AZGFD to continue its stocking program for the next 10 years and also includes conservation measures to reduce potential impacts on federally listed or sensitive native aquatic or semi-aquatic species.