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.



Reflection Riding Holds Spring Native Plant Sale This Weekend

Reflection Riding is holding its Spring Native Plant Sale selling the region's best selection of trees, shrubs, and perennials.  Here is the schedule: Friday: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. - Public Sale Saturday: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. - Public Sale and Earth Day Festival.  Native plants, grown for a variety of garden conditions, are beautiful, sustainable, and contribute ... (click for more)

TWRA Congratulates Tennessee Wildlife Federation On Award

A strong advocate for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, the Tennessee Wildlife Federation has been honored with a prestigious national award. The Federation has been named the 2018 Affiliate of the Year by the National Wildlife Federation in recognition of its outstanding achievement in promoting conservation of wildlife and natural resources on the state and national level. ... (click for more)

Man Who Killed 4 At Waffle House Is In Custody

Travis Reinking, 29, the suspect in the shooting at a Waffle House near Nashville on Sunday, has been taken into custody, according to police. Reinking, who killed four people and injured two others at a Waffle House near Nashville on Sunday morning was on the loose Monday morning and had been added to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's ‘Top 10 Most Wanted’ list. ... (click for more)

Man Says He Was Beaten With Hammer For "Disrespecting" Woman

A man told police he was beaten in the head and face with a hammer after he allegedly "disrespected" a woman earlier in the day. Bobbie J. Boston, 62, of 2819 Morgan Ave., was charged with aggravated burglary. Police said they took out warrants against Derrick Boston for aggravated burglary and aggravated assault. In the incident early Friday morning, a resident of Cannon ... (click for more)

Set Up A Council On Love, Not A Council On Hate

In Mayor Berke's April 19 version of the Berke Bulletin, he announced plans to establish a Council on Hate and indicated a focus on tolerance. I beg of him to reconsider that plan. One problem in Chattanooga and in other places in America is that there are some people who have already established an informal version of a Council on Hate. I suggest that a more productive plan ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Always Know The Facts

I adore the fact so many of America’s high school and college students are very active in our battle against violence in our schools but bemoan the fact that when you combine youth and ‘lack of experience’ they often are misguided and ill-informed. The best example came on Saturday when a reporter for Campus Reform walked around the Cal State-Santa Barbara campus asking the students ... (click for more)