TWRA Among Agencies To Host Public Meeting on Federal Trout Hatchery Funding
NASHVILLE --- The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, along with the Tennessee Valley Authority, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and Georgia Department of Natural Resources will host a public meeting in Knoxville on Tuesday, May 27, to receive comments on long-term funding recommendations to continue popular trout stocking programs in certain TVA reservoirs and tailwaters across the region.
The agencies are seeking input from angling groups, local and regional businesses, tourism organizations and local governments that benefit from fishable trout waters in their communities.
The meeting is scheduled from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. (EDT) at TVA headquarters, 400 W. Summit Hill Drive, Knoxville, in the East Tower meeting room. The public can participate in person or by webinar. Registration information for the webinar can be found at www.tva.gov/trout.
The session will include a brief presentation summarizing the issue and the Trout Hatchery Funding Stakeholder Working Group’s recommendations. Attendees can ask questions and provide comments. The meeting will be recorded and posted to the agencies’ websites, where additional comments may be posted.
On May 17, 2013, U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and representatives from the agencies formalized an agreement to cooperate in seeking a permanent source of funding to continue trout hatchery production by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s National Fish Hatchery System for stocking in TVA tailwaters and reservoirs in Tennessee and Georgia.
As part of the agreement, TVA committed to provide more than $900,000 per year from 2014 through 2016 to support federal fish hatchery operations that produce trout for stocking. The agencies also agreed to form a working group with key stakeholders who benefit from recreation-based trout stocking to help identify a long-term funding source. The Trout Hatchery Funding Stakeholder Working Group conducted two meetings in 2013 and developed four recommended long-term funding alternatives for the agencies to consider.
Currently, non-native trout stocked near some of TVA’s dams come from three federal fish hatcheries operated by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service: Erwin National Fish Hatchery in Erwin, Tenn.; Dale Hollow National Fish Hatchery in Celina, Tenn.; and Chattahoochee Forest National Fish Hatchery in Suches, Ga.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stocks most of the trout it produces at TVA facilities, and provides eggs and fingerling trout to the TWRA for further grow out and stocking at TVA facilities. TVA supports these stocking programs by enhancing the aquatic habitat through oxygenation systems, controlled hydroelectric generation and minimum water flows to help maintain cooler water temperatures. However, in most of the waters, the trout still cannot naturally reproduce, requiring regular stocking to maintain fishable populations.
The short-term funding agreement allows for continued trout stocking for recreational fishing in the colder water of the reservoirs or tailwaters at 12 TVA dams in Tennessee and Georgia: Apalachia Dam on the Hiwassee River; Blue Ridge Dam on the Toccoa River; Cherokee Dam on the Holston River; Ft. Patrick Henry Dam on the South Fork Holston River; Normandy Dam on the Duck River; Norris Dam on the Clinch River; Ocoee Dam No. 1 on the Ocoee River; South Holston Dam on the South Fork Holston River; Tellico Dam on the Little Tennessee River; Tims Ford Dam on the Elk River; Watauga Dam on the Watauga River, and Wilbur Dam on the Watauga River.
The TWRA is funded primarily by hunting and fishing license sales and boat registration. The TWRA is responsible for the management of all wildlife in Tennessee.