Fish And Wildlife Service Continues Efforts To Recover Annual Cost Of Raising Fish To Offset Impacts From Federal Water Projects

Thursday, December 20, 2012 - by Elsie Davis

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has developed secure funding agreements with many federal agencies and regional utilities to enable the agency to continue raising and stocking fish in streams affected by federal water development projects and power generation activities. However, unless a similar agreement is reached soon with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to cover fish rearing and stocking operations in Tennessee and Georgia, the Service will be forced to halt this work on behalf of the TVA. 

For more than four decades, the Service has used its own funds to work with state fish and wildlife agencies, tribal governments and other partners to lessen the impact of dams and other water development projects that have contributed to the decline of native fisheries by impairing stream flows and water quality. But increasing costs and budget constraints have made it impossible for the Service to fund this work in the future. 

Anticipating this crisis, the Service has worked for more than three years to secure agreements with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Reclamation and the Bonneville Power Administration that provide most of the funding needed for this work through the end of fiscal year 2013. Ongoing discussions have yielded no similar agreement with TVA, a federally owned corporation created by congressional charter during the Great Depression to provide navigation, flood control and electricity generation in the Tennessee Valley. 

If the Service cannot reach an agreement with TVA by April 1, 2013, to provide nearly $1 million in annual operational funding, the agency will not be able to produce fish for delivery in fiscal year 2014.

“The fish supplied by our hatcheries play a critical role in reducing the impacts of water development and power generation activities on many stream systems, while also providing important economic and recreational benefits to local communities.  We want to continue providing these benefits, but our hatchery system is stretched to the breaking point,” said Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. “We simply cannot continue to absorb these costs, and need TVA to step up and accept financial responsibility for keeping fish in rivers impacted by its operations.”

Mr. Ashe emphasized that the agency continues to talk with representatives of the TVA in hope of reaching an agreement.

The Service operates three national fish hatcheries that provide fish to mitigate the impacts of TVA projects.  Two hatcheries are located in Tennessee and a third in North Georgia.

The Service has broad support for its efforts to have agencies and utilities pay to address the impacts of their operations. Congress, the White House Office of Management and Budget and key partners have each recognized that these agencies and utilities are the most appropriate funding source and encouraged the development of funding agreements.

“Many of the same citizens that depend on the power generated by these projects also want to know their rivers will be fishable when they head out with their rods, reels and fishing buddies,” said Mr. Ashe. “The Fish and Wildlife Service has worked for more than 140 years to protect and restore our nation’s freshwater fisheries, and we understand how important the Tennessee Valley is as a source of recreation, economic development and wildlife habitat.” 

Recreational fishing generates billions of dollars annually for local economies across the nation, while providing thousands of jobs.  To learn more about the economic contributions of the Service’s national fish hatcheries, please view this report:

Tennessee Aquarium To Open Southeast's Only Independent Freshwater Science Center Oct. 27

The Tennessee Aquarium will open the Southeast’s only independent freshwater science center next Thursday at 10 a.m. This new home for the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute will be the base of operations for their research scientists, and a central location for other freshwater scientists to convene. (click for more)

TWRA Announces Availability Of Riparian Tree Planing Grants For 2017

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency announces the availability of grant dollars to assist cities, schools, community organizations, civic groups, watershed organizations, and conservation groups, etc., with riparian tree planting projects.  All seedlings must be purchased through the Department of Agriculture, Division of Forestry. Tree planting season in Tennessee is ... (click for more)

Mayor Berke, Lacie Stone Were At Swanky New York City Hotel While Bobby Stone Was Plying The River

Mayor Andy Berke's top advisor Lacie Stone accompanied him on a trip to New York City on April 12-13 and they ended up at a swanky spot where Ms. Stone's husband, Bobby, had taken her before. They sat at the Stones' favorite table.   Bobby Stone, who has accused his wife of having an affair with the mayor, has said that Lacie Stone told him that she and the mayor kissed ... (click for more)

Fire Displaces Family Of 7; Blaze Ruled Accidental

No injuries were reported in connection with a house fire on Saturday afternoon that displaced a family of seven. The Chattanooga Fire Department received the alarm at 4:11 p.m. and responded to 3308 Dodson Ave. with five fire companies. Captain Wadie Suttles with Engine 4 said heavy fire was showing when the first firefighters arrived on the scene. As additional firefighters ... (click for more)

Please, No Short Term Vacation Rentals In My Neighborhood

Approval of the short term vacation rental item on the City Council agenda for Tuesday  will be the next step toward commercializing our residential properties and communities to benefit those more interested in making money than preserving an old, well-established, rich community of like-minded families.    Anything requiring a business license is ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Kelly Could Win It

I am neither a sleuth nor an odds maker but I’d say there is about a one-in-three chance that Interim Hamilton County Department of Education Superintendent Kirk Kelly could become the permanent superintendent of our public schools next Thursday. I am assured something squirrelly is happening on our newly-seated school board. It has been seven months since the last superintendent ... (click for more)