Representatives from the Tennessee Valley Authority, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and Georgia Department of Natural Resources (the Agencies) will host a public meeting on Tuesday, May 27, 2014 to receive input on long-term funding recommendations under consideration by the Agencies that will continue popular trout stocking programs in reservoirs and tailwaters of certain TVA dams across the region.
The Agencies are seeking ideas and input from angling groups, local and regional businesses, tourism organizations and the local governments that realize the direct and indirect benefits of having fishable trout waters in their communities.
The public meeting will run from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm at TVA headquarters, 400 W. Summit Hill Dr., Knoxville, TN in the East Tower Library auditorium. The public can attend the meeting either in person or by webinar. The session will include a brief presentation summarizing the issue and the Trout Hatchery Funding Stakeholder Working Group recommendations. Attendees can ask questions and provide comments on the recommendations. The meeting will be recorded and posted to the Agencies websites where additional comments may be posted via the internet.
On May 17, 2013, U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander and representatives from the Agencies formalized an agreement to cooperate in seeking a permanent source of funding to support the continuation of trout hatchery production by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s National Fish Hatchery System for stocking in TVA tailwaters and reservoirs in Tennessee and Georgia.
As part of the agreement, TVA committed to provide more than $900,000 per year from 2014 through 2016 to support federal fish hatchery operations that produce the trout for stocking. The Agencies also agreed to form a working group with key stakeholders who benefit from the recreation-based trout stocking to help identify a long-term funding source. The Trout Hatchery Funding Stakeholder Working Group conducted two meetings in 2013 and developed four recommended long-term funding alternatives for the Agencies to consider.
Currently, non-native trout stocked near some of TVA’s dams are raised at three federal fish hatcheries operated by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service: Erwin National Fish Hatchery in Erwin, TN.; Dale Hollow National Fish Hatchery in Celina, TN.; and Chattahoochee Forest National Fish Hatchery in Suches, GA.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stocks almost all of the trout it produces at TVA facilities; and provides eggs and fingerling trout to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency for further grow out and stocking at TVA facilities. TVA supports the stocking programs by enhancing the aquatic habitat through oxygenation systems, foregoing electric generation and providing minimum flows to help adequately maintain cooler water temperatures. However, in most of the waters, the trout cannot naturally reproduce, requiring regular stocking to maintain fishable populations.
The short-term funding agreement allows for the continuation of trout stocking for recreational fishing in the colder water of the reservoirs or tailwaters at 12 TVA dams in Tennessee and Georgia: Appalachia Dam on the Hiwassee River; Blue Ridge Dam on the Toccoa River; Cherokee Dam on the Holston River; Ft. Patrick Henry Dam on the South Fork Holston River; Normandy Dam on the Duck River; Norris Dam on the Clinch River; Ocoee Dam No. 1 on the Ocoee River; South Holston Dam on the South Fork Holston River; Tellico Dam on the Little Tennessee River; Tims Ford Dam on the Elk River; Watauga Dam on the Watauga River; and Wilbur Dam on the Watauga River.
The Tennessee Valley Authority is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power distributors serving 9 million people in parts of seven southeastern states. TVA receives no taxpayer funding, deriving virtually all of its revenues from sales of electricity. In addition to operating and investing its revenues in its electric system, TVA provides flood control, navigation and land management for the Tennessee River system and assists local power companies and state and local governments with economic development and job creation.