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Hunhoff: Feds Need to Justify Booth Hatchery Closure, Let South Dakota Make Case

Publisher and legislator Bernie Hunhoff takes his swing at the threatened closure of the D.C. Booth Fish Hatchery in Spearfish. He connects the dots and shows how a dysfunctional culture of sloganeering naysayers in elected office leads to bad decisions based on something other than good fiscal stewardship and public interest:

...Maybe the D.C. Booth Fish Hatchery is the most wasteful federal program in America. We suspect that it is not. But shouldn't we know that before we net the trout and drain the ponds? Every dollar spend by Washington should be similarly analyzed. Sadly, the programs that seem safest are those with a wealthy constituency. The little hatchery in Spearfish doesn't have a lobbyist so it's fair game.

We're all at fault for this debacle. Dysfunctional politics have forced the hands of those who feed us federal dollars. Because elected officials are unwilling or unable to make sound analytical decisions — apparently because they can't face the consequences of standing up to powerful special interests on all sides of the political spectrum — we must deal with bureaucratic rumors of back-office decisions that nobody wants to own. Our congressional delegation should be sharpening their hooks. At the very least, South Dakotans deserve an explanation and a chance to make our case for the hatchery [Bernie Hunhoff, "Fishing for Answers," South Dakota Magazine, 2013.08.26].

The Booth Society in Spearfish is ready to make its case with an excellent rundown of all the benefits Spearfish and South Dakota enjoy thanks to public investment in the Hatchery. If U.S. Fish and Wildlife is serious about closing the prettiest hatchery in a seven-state area, the feds had better be ready to explain why those benefits aren't worth the cost.


  1. Mom 2013.08.27

    Maybe it could be sold to a state foundation or nonprofit. Or it could be given to a private person to run for profit??

  2. Rorschach 2013.08.27

    While I agree with Bernie Hunhoff's general sentiments about how the federal government operates, I also wonder if operating this wonderful fish hatchery a role better suited to the State of South Dakota rather than the federal government. Rather than the feds closing it, my suggestion is for the feds to turn it over to the state and for the GFP to operate it.

  3. interested party 2013.08.27

    That possibility is not unexpected, R. Making it a National Monument should be considered, too. My recommendations are posted at Bernie's and at ip.

  4. TonyAmert 2013.08.28

    I'm glad that a closure like this is slated. It brings home what austerity means to those who are frequently insulated from it but keep rooting for it. They believe that everything that doesn't directly impact themselves is wasteful and should be cut.

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