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TVA, Fish & Wildlife Service announce continued funding for Erwin hatchery, others

Johnson City Press • Oct 30, 2018 at 7:09 PM

KNOXVILLE — The Tennessee Valley Authority and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Tuesday announced the renewal of a multi-agency agreement to continue funding for Erwin National Fish Hatchery and two other federal fish hatcheries in Tennessee and Georgia.

The partnership agreement, which began in 2013, also includes the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

Continuation of the agreement will provide TVA funding for Fish and Wildlife Service trout production operations at Erwin and at national fish hatcheries in Dale Hollow in Tennessee and at Chattahoochee Forest, Ga., through 2021.

Trout from the hatcheries are used to stock TVA reservoirs and the rivers and tailwaters that feed into them, including Appalachia, Hiwassee, Blue Ridge, Boone, Cherokee, Fort Patrick Henry, Normandy, Norris, Parksville, South Holston, Tims Ford, South Holston, Watauga and Wilbur.

Last year, the partnership provided more than a million brook, brown, lake and rainbow trout to the TVA waters. According to a joint press release from TVA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, more than 256,000 anglers are estimated to fish for trout in Tennessee and Georgia each year, spending an estimated $73 for every $1 invested in the hatchery program and producing an economic impact of about $45 million.

The four partner agencies gathered to announce the renewed agreement Tuesday morning at a press conference beside the Clinch River below Norris Dam near Knoxville.

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, who was instrumental in securing the original 2013 agreement, on Tuesday said, “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,”

“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,” Alexander said.

David Bowling, TVA’s vice president of land, river management and environmental compliance, said the agreement “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,” Bowling said.

Mike Oetker, acting regional director for the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Southeast Region, said, “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 rivers.”

“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.”

Frank Fiss, chief of fisheries for TWRA, said, “This partnership is critical to TWRA’s management of trout fisheries. Each year up to 80 percent of the trout stocked at TVA projects come from federal hatcheries. These fisheries include some of the best in the Southeast.”

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