OPR-HP at its expense. At the same time, however, DEC has forbidden any supplemental feeding of stream- resident trout out of concerns for nitrate pollution. Since all “beats” at CRSPP do not have equally-sustaining habitat, this will inevitably result in fewer “productive” beats for visiting anglers. This is of particular concern for handicapped-access beats, most of which are located immediately upstream from the hatchery, where an absolute stocking ban has been in place since 2007.
It should be noted that NYSDEC has indicated its willingness to permit a limited experiment in raising some trout as a method of indirectly testing the present quality of the river waters, provided any positive IPNV test will precipitate the prompt euthanization and disposal of such fish. This would also allow some use of the facility for educational purposes only.
To date, all attempts by concerned citizens, and even State Legislators, to elicit the active involvement & consideration of NYSDEC Commissioner Alexander “Pete” Grannis have been rebuffed, or met with stony silence. This has unenviably dropped the “hot potato” of the CRSPP hatchery closure entirely into the lap of the local Area One DEC personnel.
New York State Parks is the steward of Connetquot. The Long Island regional director has delegated the IPNV problem at the park to subordinates, and has never acted as a public advocate for its defense. No visible intercession with the State Parks’ Commissioner on behalf of Connetquot has come to our attention. Many letters written to Commissioner Ash by concerned citizens have received only the most insipid and uninformative responses.
Certainly, the State’s economic hardships have played a role. But when all Parks’ regions are under similar constraints, common sense dictates that scarce resources are likely to be distributed according to the “squeaky wheel” scenario. When no clear effort is being exerted in defense of what they themselves describe as a “jewel” of the system, it is reasonable to suspect that some other motivation(s) may be playing a role in their behavior.
The subordinates who have been charged with handling the Connetquot problems are well-intentioned. Unfortunately, they have apparently neither the time, nor inclination to familiarize themselves with the scientific literature regarding the biology and epidemiology of IPN. As a consequence, they are in the “passenger’s seat” rather than the “driver’s seat” during discussions with NYSDEC and/or consultants.
This has also contributed to the “non-progress” to date. Granted, there are difficult bureaucratic obstacles to be negotiated. But their lack of independent knowledge about this disease renders Parks subject to relatively unquestioning reliance upon outside influences. Both the Friends of Connetquot and the Idle Hour Fly Fishers have submitted several scenarios under which the necessary data collection(s) could be advanced, but Parks has been unwilling or unable to take it upon itself to act independently.
In short, much valuable time has been lost owing to the glacial pace at which Parks has attended to its own “turf.” It (OPR-HP) has been, in our opinion, entirely too willing to play the victim instead of the controlling authority. In the interim, Park fishing attendance is off tremendously, the State is losing revenue at a time it can least afford it, the hatchery’s educational function has been indefinitely lost, and its historic character has been placed in jeopardy.
OPR-HP was directed by NYSDEC to employ one of two DEC-approved hatchery management consultants as a pre-requisite for any DEC consideration of renewing the CRSPP hatchery’s operating permit. Both HDR/”Fish Pro” and the Freshwater Institute were brought to CRSPP to view the place first-hand – the former in late fall 2008, and the latter in early spring 2009. Both were requested to submit action proposals from which OPR-HP would select a bid.
Eventually, the FWI of Shepardstown, W.V., was chosen by Parks.