The Tennessee Valley Authority and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have reached a multi-agency agreement to provide continued funding for three federal fish hatcheries that have stocked waters in Georgia and Tennessee with millions of trout. The partnership, which began in 2013, includes the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.
Since 2013, TVA has been funding trout production by the Service at three national fish hatcheries: Dale Hollow and Erwin in Tennessee, and Chattahoochee Forest in Georgia. The trout are then provided to the following tailwaters: Appalachia (Hiwassee River), Blue Ridge, Boone, Cherokee, Fort Patrick Henry, Normandy, Norris, South Holston, Tims Ford, and Wilbur. Trout-stocked reservoirs in the plan include Fort Patrick Henry, South Holston, Parksville, Watauga, and Wilbur reservoirs.
The four partner agencies announced the new agreement today at a press conference beside the Clinch River below Norris Dam outside Knoxville, Tennessee. The agreement provides partnership funding through the fiscal year 2021.
“Anglers come from all over the country to fish on TVA-managed lakes and rivers, and now TVA will continue its role in making sure they will continue to enjoy some of the best trout fishing in the country,” said David Bowling, TVA vice president of Land, River Management & Environmental Compliance. “This fits into our mission of environmental stewardship, economic development and the enhancement of quality of life in the Tennessee Valley. An important way we accomplish these goals is by working with our valued partner agencies on projects such as this.”
Last year, the partnership provided more than 1.1 million brook, brown, lake and rainbow trout to TVA waters. More than 256,000 anglers are estimated to fish for trout in Tennessee and Georgia waters each year, spending about $73 for every $1 invested in the hatchery program, and producing an economic impact of about $45 million.
“Tennessee fishermen already enjoy fishing on TVA lakes, and today’s announcement means that federal fish hatcheries in Erwin, Dale Hollow, and Georgia will stay open and continue to provide Tennessee rivers and lakes with millions of fish that make our trout fishing some of the best in the country,” U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander said. “This is good news for the 900,000 Tennesseans and visitors who have fishing and hunting licenses and for the businesses that create jobs and depend on fishing in Tennessee.”
“This ongoing partnership is a great example of how agencies are working together to strengthen economic benefits and enhance recreational opportunities in healthy river systems for our citizens who enjoy the Tennessee valley's rivers,” said Mike Oetker, acting regional director for the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Southeast Region. “As an avid trout fisherman, I know personally that Tennessee and Georgia already boast great places for anglers. The continued commitments from this renewed partnership ensure that well into the future.”
“This partnership is critical to TWRA’s management of trout fisheries - each year up to 80% of the trout stocked at TVA projects come from federal hatcheries,” said Frank Fiss, chief of fisheries for TWRA. “These fisheries include some of the best in the Southeast.”
“In Georgia, we are proud of the trout fishery and recognize that it provides not only exceptional outdoor recreation opportunities but that it also is an important economic driver in many of our mountain communities,” said Rusty Garrison, director of Georgia Wildlife Resources Division. “This continuing partnership will help us maintain high-quality trout fishing on waters such as the Toccoa River below Blue Ridge Lake.”
The Tennessee Valley Authority is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power companies serving nearly 10 million people in parts of seven southeastern states. TVA receives no taxpayer funding, deriving virtually all of its revenues from sales of electricity. In addition to operating and investing its revenues in its electric system, TVA provides flood control, navigation, and land management for the Tennessee River system and assists local power companies and state and local governments with economic development and job creation.