Budget cuts put Bo Ginn hatchery in limbo

Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012 10:49 PM
Last updated Monday, Sept. 24, 2012 2:17 AM
  • Follow Metro

Reopening the shuttered Bo Ginn National Fish Hatchery near Millen, Ga., could take longer than expected due in part to shrinking federal budgets.

Back | Next
The  nearby fishery at the Bo Ginn aquarium at Magnolia Springs State Park  was closed in 1996. August 18, 2010.   Special
The nearby fishery at the Bo Ginn aquarium at Magnolia Springs State Park was closed in 1996. August 18, 2010.

“Right now that is still a long-range goal for us, but we don’t foresee any funding in the next fiscal year,” said Allan Brown, the warm water program supervisor for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

The hatchery, built in 1950, operated for decades as part of a program to provide free sportfish for lakes and ponds in the region.

In 1996, however, it was closed because of federal budget cuts and taken over by Georgia, which managed the property and its popular aquarium but could not afford to continue to operate the hatchery. The aquarium, which was open to visitors, is also closed.

Two years ago, the site – which also includes Magnolia Springs State Park – attracted national attention as archaeologists unveiled discoveries linked to Camp Lawton, a Civil War prisoner of war stockade built there in 1864.

Plans were discussed in which the Fish & Wildlife Service and Georgia’s Wildlife Resources Division would reopen the hatchery, possibly during 2012.

“We would like to get it up and running and put appropriate staffing there, but we would have to have funding,” Brown said.

The site’s abundant freshwater springs make it attractive as a fish hatchery, he said, and possibilities for its reuse include raising striped bass or studying imperiled species, such as the shortnose sturgeon.

Federal authorities are also involved in discussions of the proposed deepening of Savannah Harbor, which includes mitigation payments for fisheries programs – including a fish passage structure at New Savannah Bluff lock and dam near Augusta.

When the reopening proposal was discussed in 2010, estimates indicated it would require $8.3 million to get the facility running again, with an annual operating budget of about $2.8 million.

Comments (1) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
bubbasauce 09/24/12 - 09:57 am
Keep it closed. It is truly

Keep it closed. It is truly amazing how politicians love to spend money on something so they can put their name on it. I say no! Government cannot run anything right. But hey, it will probably create another 20 or so unnecessary jobs that government loves to create.

Back to Top
Search Augusta jobs