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:  http://www.fws.gov/home/feature/2011/pdf/FisheriesEconomicReport.pdf.


2016 Application Period For Peregrine Falcon Trapping For Falconry Usage Is Underway

The 2016 application period for the trapping of a peregrine falcon to be used in falconry is underway, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has announced. The TWRA will award this permit to the winner of a draw to be held on Wednesday, Aug. 31. Falconers may go to TWRA’s website under the Hot Topics section and locate the print-ready application and also view the requirements. ... (click for more)

Application Period Deadline Is July 27 For 2016 WMA Big Game Quota Hunts

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is announcing that the application deadline is nearing for the 2016 Wildlife Management Area (WMA) Big Game Quota Hunts, the regular elk, youth elk, and WMA youth hunts. Entries must be submitted before midnight (CDT) on Wednesday, July 27. The WMA hunting instruction sheet lists locations and dates for each of the quota hunts along ... (click for more)

$30 Million Development Planned At King And South Market; Will Include Hotel, Condos, Offices, Retail, Possible Restaurant

A new $30 million development is planned for the Southside at King Street and South Market. Nick Wilkinson, city deputy director for economic development, said it will include a hotel, condos, offices, retail and possibly a restaurant. It could also include some light industry. A storage building and a parking lot are now at the site. He said the developers plan to reuse ... (click for more)

Investor In Scheme Says Dyer Made Contacts At Quarterback Club

One of the investors who was a loser in an investment scheme recently halted by the Securities and Exchange Commission said one of the Chattanooga brokers involved made many of his contacts through the Chattanooga Quarterback Club. Paul Smith, former Hamilton County Democratic Party chairman, said Doug Dyer has been the president for many years of the club that promotes UTC and ... (click for more)

Expand Broadband Internet, Not The Size Of Government

I’d like to respond to two letters in your July 13 edition that praised Rep. Mike Carter’s efforts to expand statewide broadband access. Rep. Carter wants more government involvement in the broadband sector, including an expansion of taxpayer-funded, municipal broadband networks.  Rep. Carter’s supporters argued he’s standing up for consumers against huge telecommunications ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Our Horses Vs. DesJarlais

It is well-known that shortly after the despicable “Big Lick” faction of the Tennessee Walking Horse industry put on a very-pointed fundraiser for the equally repugnant Congressman Scott DesJarlais (R-Jasper) two years ago, the misguided doctor has repeatedly tried to bully and strong-arm the U.S. Department of Agriculture on the behalf of the vermin who sadistically torture the ... (click for more)