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Neosho Daily News - Neosho, MO
  • Hatchery, Carver affected by shutdown

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  • Two areas affected by the government shutdown are the National Park Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service.
    Two local entities are currently closed: the Neosho National Fish Hatchery and George Washington Carver National Monument in Diamond.
    "The lapse in appropriations that occurred at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday has impacted the fish and wildlife service," said Chuck Traxler, public affairs officer with Midwest Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, out of Minneapolis, Minn. "So basically all facilities and lands that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages will be closed. Any scheduled events or activities have been canceled. And the majority of our employees have been furloughed, placed on unpaid no-duty status."
    For the local fish hatchery, the question is, who will take care of the fish?
    "There are also several national wildlife refuges in the state of Missouri, and a couple of other offices, placed on minimal staffing, which is pretty much just to ensure public safety and the security of public equipment," he said. "The only exception to that is again kind of for essential services. What that means specifically [for the fish hatchery] is that there is one, or maybe two, people there to keep the fish fed, make sure that water is flowing and that the fish stay alive, but there is no proactive management spawning or delivery of fish. It is just to make sure that they stay alive."
    The hatchery grounds — including the walking trails around the ponds — will also be closed.
    "All lands and facilities are closed, they are off limits to public," said Traxler.
    A sign posted at the hatchery's gates reads, "This facility is closed due to lapse in federal appropriation."
    A post on the Carver National Monument Facebook page read, "because of the federal government shutdown, this National Park Service Facebook page is inactive. We'll start the conversation again when we get back."
    There is no word on when the government shutdown will cease.
    "I don't have any inside info on that," said Traxler. "We are just doing the best that we can. We are ready to go back to work when we are told to go back to work but until that time, we are just running at essential levels only. Things are closed and will be until we are told to go back to work."

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