Re: Tennessee Trout Mgmt Plan
Let me start off by saying that I am not a TVA Dam expert, and I donít know anything for certain. There is still a lot of grey areas. Take this post for what it is, hear say.
There are opinions and ideas and all kinds of stories floating around now about Cumberland and Caney. What I think I know is this. The earth and rock foundations that the dams are built on are leaking through caves and holes (think Swiss cheese) in the bedrock. WCD was in worse shape then they thought, so an emergency drawdown has been initiated.
From all the gossip Iíve gathered, everyone seems to agree that at the new level the lake will be able to sustain a cold water fishery below WCD,,,maybe. It was reported a couple of days ago that the US hatchery below WCD is supposed to remain open and in operation while the work is being performed. This is a good sign.
Where we might get into trouble is if we have a very wet spring and there is too much warm water entering the lake and mixing with the colder water below the thermo cline. In order to maintain the lake at a ďsafe levelĒ WCD will have to run full bore to dump all the rainwater. This could lead to warm water being dumped into Cumberland and possibly a fish kill.
Then there is a case where in the summer the DO drops too low and the fish immediately below the dam would suffer. Iíve heard all sorts of scenarios. For example, the level they are shooting for is too low to run the generators. This would mean the sluice would have to provide the water to Cumby. I donít know about WCD but at Caney the sluice gates are higher in the water column then the generator intakes. This means the water is much warmer. The effect is that the DO goes up but so do the water temps. This happened a few years ago on Caney when the first started trying to improve DO there. Now they only run the sluice when there is generation. The mixing of cold water and the higher DO levels from the sluice have been working wonders for the Caney.
About all we can do is trust that TVA is being honest and that they will do all they can to keep the people safe and still provide a fishery. There will be alot of good people finding themselves without an income this summer because of this. I donít even want to think about the consequences of a catastrophic failure at WCD.
If you Google Wolf Creek Dam you can find out everything you want to know about whatís going on there.