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Old 08-23-2012, 10:22 AM
Joe Congleton Joe Congleton is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 125

Having been in the business of giving advice for many years i can tell you that most folks have a hard time taking it, even when they pay you to give it . Free advice is even less respected ...but here goes anyway---

Here are some facts . Not opinions but facts . I have flyfished on the Clinch about 45 years. In the late sixties when i joined Trout Unlimited there were less than twenty members in Tennessee. I helped to organize the first TU chapter in this end of the state ,the GSM chapter, and there were less than 20 TU members east of Chattanooga. I was the first true organizational president of the GSM chapter and it grew to over a hundred members in two years . We looked for projects in the Park Tellico and on the tailwaters. We rolled rocks planted trees and tried to make meaningful ties with TWRA and TVA USFS and the FWS. We got the GSMNP to stop all hatchery fish stocking in the PArk. In short the organization was a working conservation entity and also a fishing club of sorts. This GSM chapter and the then newly formed Chattanooga chapter formed the TU council for Tenn early on. Subsequently a chapter in tri cities emerged (bluff city) and began to work on the south holston TU was the primary leader in the Tellico Dam fight. Hundreds of TU members from all over country gave a lot of money to fund that fight. TU national offcie worked the Washington DC governmental entities and we darn near won the battle over the Tellico dam. (A new book is scheduled to be out soon that will detail all this Tellico work --it will be titled "Little Fish", out next year i think).

Anyway, as the Tellico fight was ongoing other talwater issues came to the forefront. InFollowing the release of the Study for Alternatives to the Tellico Dam some of the TVA directors came to realize the potential economic gain from enhanced tailwater fisheries. Plus, legal issues surrounding point source designation under the Clean Water Act prodded TVA to correct water edficiiencies. By personal meetings with the TVA board memebers TU was at the forefront of getting the tailwater water issues in dissolved oxygen, minimum flows ) addressed meaningfully for the first time. The weir dams came about directly and absolutely in response to this work and potential environmental litigation over the past water quality releases. As the Weir dam construction and designs improved the fisheries improved dramtically. TU at work.
Now to some opinions: Having served as State Chairman and a National Director of TU qnd based on the matters mentioned in the preceeding paragraph, i can tell you firsthand that the organization does and can make a difference . But making a difference doesnt mean in all instances being a litigant or a complete adversary to the governmental groups who oversee the resources. That role often is last resort. In my youinger days, I was like several of you who obviously care about the resources. I srongly urge that you attend some TU meetings and voice your concerns there or contact the TU leadership on the state and get involved rhere.

Lone Rangers dont usually win a lot of these regulatory or conservation fights or solve the bigger issues. An organization that is already in place with working relationships with the governmental agencies is the place to start: your local TU chapter. You will have a postive impact with your participation. Self declared experts on the internet may think they are the drum major but if they look around and no band is following them they might want to go find the band first, join it, and then use it for a forum to begin a plan to solve their concerns. TU is pursuing all the real issues in the poll in some fashion or another, depending on the matters in focus. I attended the annual TU Tva TWRA joint taliwater review session in july. with About 25 TU leaders. Folks attended From several different Tenn chapters. Every concern about the Clinch was addressed . Some fairly serious and vigorous discussions addressed potential solutions. Not a lot of *** kissing took place. While TWRA biologists say analytically that the Clinch is the current most productive tailwater in Tenn , it is my impression that most anglers who fish it regularly are frustrated that the fishery is nowhere what it could be with some tweaking. because we see the POTENTIAL for it to be great, day to day and year to year--just as i saw ot forty plus years ago and Waterwolf sees it today. Everybody there at the meeting, governmental or volunteer wanted the Clinch and other tailwaters to improve but there are obvious limitations that hinder progress in some areas. Fixing some issues is not an overnight project. Tilting at windmills such as "acid drainage" is not beneficial to the debates (i do not believe there is or ever has been a acid mine drainage source designation by the Dept of Interior or water quality enforcement agencies in the Tennessee Clinch watershed) While enthusiasm is a great asset it is important to get facts straight in order to have credibility with resource managers, which at the end of the day hold the trump cards in matters of water and fish management.

I Suggest anyone who wants these water to improve needs to find the TU chapter near you or near "your" water and get involved. Dynamic young ideas are welcome.

Last edited by Joe Congleton; 08-23-2012 at 03:53 PM..
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