sent mccainArizona Senator John McCain took officials from U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Arizona Game and Fish, and Mohave County to the Willow Beach Hatchery to discuss what needs to be done in the long run to fix the problems with the rainbow trout stocking program.  “Senator McCain has been instrumental in helping Mohave County bring back the stocking program,” Supervisor Buster Johnson stated.  The U.S. Fish &Wildlife Service decided to stop the stocking of rainbow trout at the Hatchery in December.  According to Johnson, the estimated economic loss to the region due to the stoppage would have been around $74 million per year.  “Our river communities depend on sport fishing.  It is a major economic driver for our county,” Johnson explained. During the meeting, Senator McCain spoke with officials to try and find out exactly how much money would be needed to fix the intake pipes that bring the cold Colorado River water into the tanks that hold the trout.  “Senator McCain has taken a real leadership role in helping us find the funds to ensure this valuable program doesn’t get stopped again,” Johnson said.  Senator McCain, the Arizona Game and Fish Department and Mohave County officials found a short-term solution this past spring in order to start the program back up.  “The Arizona Game and Fish Department provided roughly 21,000 juvenile rainbow trout to be raised and stocked through the Hatchery,” Johnson stated.  “While this solution will save the trout stocking program in the short run, the intake pipe must be fixed in order for the hatchery to continue the program for years to come,” Johnson continued. Along with helping to find the funds for Willow Beach, Senator McCain has also authored the National Fish Hatchery System Amendment to the Sportsmen’s Act to help prevent future action like what was seen at Willow Beach from happening.  If approved, Senator McCain’s amendment would require that the Secretary of the Interior give equal priority consideration to the rearing and stocking of native and nonnative fish; as well as, require federal water agencies, such as the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, to help fund certain fish hatcheries that are operated by Fish & Wildlife.