An eager reader forwards an e-mail from Senator John Thune that wins him nothing but praise from me and from anyone else who cares about intelligent investment in South Dakota communities. Senator Thune is telling constituents that he's willing to fight for the D.C. Booth Hatchery in Spearfish:

As you know, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced that the D.C. Booth Fish Hatchery in Spearfish, SD may have to be closed in October of 2013 due to budget cuts. FWS announced in early September that it would conduct a review of its fish hatchery facilities and that the D.C. Booth Fish Hatchery will not close in October, pending further review.

I was pleased that the FWS chose to reevaluate its decision regarding the Hatchery. The D.C. Booth Fish Hatchery receives relatively few federal dollars annually. These federal funds are highly leveraged with private funding. The Hatchery also utilizes thousands of hours of annual volunteer labor. For these reasons, I believe the D.C. Booth Fish Hatchery exemplifies the type of fishery the FWS should keep open and use as model of private/public enterprise in the FWS system of operations. Furthermore, I will request that FWS conduct an economic analysis of closure of the D.C. Booth Fish Hatchery and other facilities to ensure the final decisions make economic sense.

The FWS should also consider that the D.C. Booth Fish Hatchery has been an integral part of the Spearfish community for over 100 years. Additionally, over 155,000 people visit the D.C. Booth Fish Hatchery annually, and it provides jobs and volunteer opportunities for many people in the Black Hills area.

As an avid outdoorsman, I am committed to protecting and preserving our natural resources for future generations. I support a balanced, multiple-use approach to the management of our environment and natural resources that preserves our resources for agriculture, sportsmen, wildlife enthusiasts, and commercial interests alike [Senator John Thune, e-mail to constituents, 2013.09.12].

Public-private partnership, jobs on top of conservation—well done, Senator Thune! Our junior Senator now joins Senator Tim Johnson in telling the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that the D.C. Booth Hatchery is a great public investment. Senator Thune's advocacy for this Spearfish gem also beats the pants off Governor Dennis Daugaard's wishy-washy shrug at Spearfishers' request that he help them fight to protect the Hatchery.