Jon Ellis and Rick Bean have been honored by being named the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s Fisheries Division’s Biologist of the Year and Fisheries Technician of the Year, respectively.
The recipients of the awards were introduced during the September meeting in Clarksville of the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission.
Ellis serves as manager of the Tellico State Fish Hatchery. Bean serves as the lead technician for the TWRA Region IV reservoir fisheries crew.
Mr. Ellis has increased production by addressing water quality and quantity issues and creating additional space to raise trout. He has promoted fishing through various media outlets and hosting special fishing events.
The hatchery operates on a gravity-fed system that receives water from the Tellico River. To make the process safer and more efficient, a new intake top with spray bars, a new walkway, and safety lights were installed.
In addition to protecting the water supply, Mr. Ellis also increased hatchery capacity be renovating pools and added a new fiberglass tank to the existing raceway. The Southern Appalachian Brook Trout Facility at the hatchery provides support for restoration throughout their range in Tennessee. Steps to improve growth and reduce the mortality rate have been made.
With Mr. Ellis leading the way, Tellico Hatchery is active in the support of service men and women. Among the activities is an annual Veterans Day weekend.
Mr. Bean has been with the TWRA for 42 years. He has served most of his career at Buffalo Spring Hatchery where he made improvements in trout production and continues to be an asset. In his current role, Mr. Bean organizes the maintenance of reservoir sampling equipment ranging from nets to boat motors. His skills at repairing boat motors, trailers, electronics, and sensitive equipment, such as water quality meters, has meant the savings of thousands of dollars in repair bills.
In March 2020, Mr. Bean stepped in to fill the role of reservoir data collection manager after the retirement of his supervisor. He organized the electrofishing survey, prepared all the sampling equipment, and looked at historical data to determine sampling locations. He also ensured that enough sampling sites were visited to maintain data integrity and was able to sample each of his reservoirs within the temperature regimes required for spring sportfish electrofishing.