On Tuesday, U.S. Senator Kay R. Hagan, Richard Burr and Representative Larry Kissell introduced legislation to transfer McKinney Lake Fish Hatchery from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to the State of North Carolina. The bill has no cost and is supported by both the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services and the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.
“My family and I love fishing on North Carolina’s lakes, and this legislation will preserve fishing programs enjoyed by all North Carolinians across our great state,” said Hagan. “The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has always effectively managed this hatchery, and it only makes sense that this important resource be transferred to the state.”
“This has been on-going for 10 years, and this is the furthest it has gotten,” said Rick Bradford, McKinney Fish Hatchery manager. “This is great progress. We’ve run into stumbling blocks along the way,”
Bradford said the legislation won’t change the way the hatchery functions on a day-to-day basis, but the sign out front will change. He called it “land we can now own” and said it made sense, as the rest of the gamelands around the hatchery fall under the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.
The legislation requires an act of Congress to completely and permanently transfer the land to the state.
“The McKinney Lake National Fish Hatchery is an example of the abundant resources and research opportunities that North Carolina enjoys, and I’m pleased that our state will benefit from it for generations to come,” Burr said.
Kyle Briggs of N.C. Wildlife Resources said he is thankful to the congressional delegation.
“It’s pretty impressive to get that kind of support,” Briggs said. He said the hatchery has been operated by the state since 1996 under a memorandum of agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The McKinney Lake State Fish Hatchery is a warm water hatchery used primarily for growing channel catfish for the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s Community Fishing Program. Small catfish are grown throughout the spring. In April, the fish are collected and stocked into community lakes across the state, including Richmond County.
Staff Writer Dawn Kurry can be reached at email@example.com or by calling 997-3111 ext. 15.