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New volunteer to head up fish pen project


POWER has a new fish pens manager in Electric City.

Bill Hancock, who lives near the fish pens, volunteered to handle those duties at the annual meeting of the group March 24 at the Grand Coulee Dam Senior Center.

The future of the fish pens was in doubt going into the meeting, with POWER President Carl Russell indicating that he planned to step down after 25 years.

As it turned out, Russell agreed to continue as president if someone else managed the fish pen operation. That’s when Hancock stepped forward.

In the election that followed, there were few changes. Russell continued as president, Ken Miles as vice president, Hazel Johnson as secretary, and Bob Kelton, Charles Long, Pat Holbert, Robert Smith and Hancock as members of the board. Jerry Sands was the lone board member to drop out.

POWER (Promoters of Wildlife & Environmental Resources) raises some 300,000 rainbow trout a year that are released into Banks Lake, making it one of the better trout lakes in Eastern Washington. POWER also has a game-bird feeder program.

Fish and the feed are provided by the state’s Fish and Wildlife Department. Funding for the fish pen program comes through a grant from Aquatic Land Enhancement Account of the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office. Russell disclosed at Thursday’s meeting that the fish pens and facilities have a value of at least $100,000.

The 1987 Project Fish started out as an arm of the chamber of commerce. The project was started by Reg Morgan and Bill Brashears. In 1991, POWER was incorporated and dropped from chamber sponsorship. That year, Russell became president.

The organization has been active in Banks Lake shoreline cleanup, chukar purchase and release, and distributing feeders to help feed small game birds during the winter.

Hancock retired from positions consulting for oil and other companies that have taken him throughout Central America, South America, Europe and Asia.

He told the POWER group that he is retired but anxious to help with the fish pens and having something to do.

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