Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Trout Hatchery Funding Update

Below is the latest update I just received via Email from the Trout Unlimited Clinch River Chapter:

To all members and friends of the Clinch River Chapter:

For the most recent developments in the continuing controversy over funding for trout hatcheries, please see the message below from Dick Geiger, president of the Clinch River Chapter TU, and the comments from Rick Murphree, chairman of the Tennessee Council TU.

Their messages refer to a May 27 public meeting in Knoxville, hosted by TVA, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and Georgia Department of Natural Resources. The meeting provided an opportunity for the public to comment on long-term funding recommendations to continue trout stocking programs in TVA reservoirs and tailwaters; the recommendations were developed by the Trout Hatchery Funding Stakeholder Working Group, whose members (one is our own Buzz Buffington) all benefit from recreation-based trout stocking. 

Clinch River Chapter members and friends,

Because of funding restrictions and sequestration in the federal government during the last several years, there have been potential impacts to the operation of the federal hatchery system. A letter-writing campaign to the TN delegation in Congress maintained the funding, but Congress instructed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to attempt to recover payments for operation of the hatcheries. TVA agreed to fund their portion of stocking the tailwaters below TVA dams ($900,000 per year for three years).

Please go to www.tva.gov/hatchery and download the 4 alternatives and provide comments to the working group. Your comments will show you are interested in maintaining the fisheries in the tail waters below the TVA dams.

Dick Geiger, President
Clinch River Chapter of Trout Unlimited

From Tennessee Council Chair Rick Murphree to the Tennessee TU members, May 28:

Last night TVA held a public meeting to gather input on 4 proposed alternatives for funding for USFWS trout hatcheries.  This was the first time we had seen the 4 alternatives. Attached is my statement. I didn't read all of this but did enter it into the record. 

I addressed the panel and did not directly endorse any of the alternatives as I'd not had an opportunity to get input from the Council.  However, I did address the 4th alternative whereby TVA would use its facilities to replace the trout currently produced by the USFWS and would absorb that cost.  In reading the summary of the alternative the only substantive objection was that TVA ratepayers would bear the cost estimated at some $900K per year.  I pointed out to the panel that, using TVA's own data, this was $0.10 per TVA customer per year and this seemed to me to be very reasonable.

According to TVA you should be able today to go to their web sitewww.tva.gov/hatchery and download the summary statements of the 4 alternatives.


And a later comment, also from Rick Murphree on May 28:

As I understand Alternative 4, TVA would pay the $900K to produce the trout that are currently provided by the USFWS Hatchery system.  I assume from the text that TVA would use its hatcheries but it seems to me that it's more likely that the production would be shared between TWRA's hatchery system and TVA.

What I like about that is the we here in TN would control the future production for the tailwater systems.