A resolution asking TVA, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, and other federal authorities to join Tennessee in “aggressively addressing the Asian carp invasion on Tennessee waterways” was unanimously approved by the Senate Energy, Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee Wednesday. Senate Joint Resolution 723, sponsored by Senator Ken Yager (R-Kingston), recognizes the urgency of the infiltration of the invasive fish into the Tennessee River system, its negative effects on the ecosystem, and the disastrous economic consequences to the state if the problem continues to accelerate.
“The fundamental purpose of this resolution is to bring recognition to the urgency of this problem,” said Senator Yager. “Aggressive measures must be undertaken to prevent Asian carp from ruining our ecosystem, fishing, and recreational boating if we as a state do not respond. Robust federal intervention is essential, with additional resources needed to help prevent the fish from spreading further.”
Tennessee is an active participant in the Mississippi River Interstate Cooperative Resource Association, an organization of 28 states and federal agencies that are working together to lobby for additional carp management funds.
Senator Yager suggested erecting a barrier at Nickajack or Chickamauga Dam as a means to stop the spread of the fish upstream. “The Asian Carp have made it this far, and candidly, we were shocked to know that some have been found in Chickamauga Lake. We want to stop it there so Chickamauga, Watts Barr and Loudon Lakes are not spoiled by this infiltration,” he continued.
All species of Asian carp that have entered Tennessee waters compete for space with native fish species, with some reaching 100 pounds. The bighead and silver carp compete with native fish species for food by consuming microscopic algae and zooplankton. Black carp may eat many species of snails and mussels that are native to Tennessee, while grass carp eat vegetation that provides cover for sportfish such as largemouth bass, crappie, and bluegill.
Upon passage, the resolution will be sent to the President of the United States, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, the Majority Leader of the United States Senate, the Tennessee congressional delegation, the Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, members of the Board of Directors for the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Commanding General of the U.S. Army of Engineers and other affected state and federal agencies.
The resolution now moves to the Senate floor for final approval.