The public comment period for scoping has been re-opened on Arizona’s sport-fish stocking program.

Federal and state agencies seek assistance identifying the extent and variety of issues that may be associated with fish stocking.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Arizona Game and Fish Department officials will use the public’s input as part of a draft environmental assessment process that is required to continue using federal funding for stocking activities in Arizona.

The deadline for submitting written comments is March 6. Written comments can be sent to either: David Weedman, Aquatic Habitat Program Coordinator, Arizona Game and Fish Department, 5000 W. Carefree Highway, Phoenix, AZ 85086. E-mail:  fishaz@azgfd.gov; or to Harold Namminga, Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, P.O Box 1306, Albuquerque, NM 87103.

Game and Fish conducted three public open houses in Phoenix, Pinetop and Tucson, and collected 150 written comments.

Previously submitted comments are being considered and need not be resent.

Once this latest comment period ends, the wildlife agencies will prepare a draft environmental assessment to evaluate the social, economic and environmental effects of stockings related to continue funding for the program through the Sport Fish Restoration Program.

Each year, the Arizona Game and Fish Department stocks more than 3 million fish for anglers to catch in approximately 160 of Arizona’s lakes, rivers and streams — mostly rainbow, Apache, brook, and cutthroat trout, but some warm-water species, such as largemouth bass and channel catfish.

The stocking program is supported with federal funds and from the sale of licenses and trout stamps.

For more information, visit www.azgfd.gov/fishea.

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