We could be with out 64% of the trout stocked in our state. Yes you read that correctly, 64%. There would be no brown trout at all to stock. If you like to trout fish you should be concerned. Please continue reading.
Proposed federal budgets would eliminate funding for much of what these hatcheries provide to Tennesseans. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has not shared any plans with the State that would demonstrate a willingness to continue support of these facilities under new budgets constraints. It seems that they are willing to let them shut down, despite mitigation responsibilities to Tennessee.
The USFWS is choosing to rely on reimbursements from the US Army Corps of Engineers and TVA for mitigation. These are the appropriate mitigating agencies, but they are not fully funding their mitigation responsibilities. The USACE has offered to pay about 80% of their share, but TVA has not made such an agreement. Without a reimbursement from TVA the Dale Hollow National Fish Hatchery would have to reduce its production by 60%. That would mean no trout would be raised for TVA tailwaters such as the Clinch, the South Holston,Watauga, Hiwassee, Elk, etc.
The bottom line is that if these facilities are shut down, then recreational opportunities and the revenues they generated throughout the state will be severely reduced.
Please contact your US representatives and the Department of the Interior to let them know what you think of this action. Request that the USFWS support recreational fisheries, and request that the federal budget continue to fund mitigation hatcheries until the USACE and TVA fully reimburse Tennesseans for their mitigation responsibilities.
Additional information about these facilities.....
Dale Hollow National Fish Hatchery is operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It primarily produces trout for distribution into tailwater and reservoir trout fisheries in Tennessee. These stockings are regarded as mitigation responsibilities for impoundments managed by US Army Corps of Engineers and the Tennessee Valley Authority.
Dale Hollow NFH stocks trout at our most valuable trout fisheries such as Caney Fork, Hiwassee, Clinch, South Holston and Watauga rivers. Several large lakes such as Dale Hollow, South Holston, and Watauga reservoirs rely on Dale Hollow NFH production. These large, popular fisheries require 40- 100 thousand trout a year to maintain quality fisheries.
Dale Hollow NFH also supplies approximately 150,000 trout to TWRA’s Tellico Trout Hatchery. These trout are stocked into Tellico River and Citico Creek in the Cherokee National Forest throughout the year.
In 2010 Dale Hollow NFH stocked 1.3 million trout, or 289,000 pounds of trout, into Tennessee waters. That is 64 % of all trout stocked in Tennessee, and 51 % by weight.
Dale Hollow NHF is the sole source for brown trout and lake trout in Tennessee. TWRA hatcheries do not have the required water quality or space to handle these species.
The operational budget of Dale Hollow NFH is $797,000. Dale Hollow NFH is approximately three times the size of TWRA’s largest trout hatchery, which is Buffalo Springs Trout Hatchery.
The total economic output of DHNFH was estimated to be $75.1 million in 2010. That is $94 of benefit per dollar spent on the facility.
As part of their partnership with TWRA, Dale Hollow NFH also raises trout for TWRA at a low rate of $100,000 for 100,000 pounds of trout. This is a very low cost and a huge benefit to TWRA’s trout program. These trout can be stock anywhere in Tennessee and many of them are used for our winter trout program in middle Tennessee.
Erwin National Fish Hatchery plays a less visible but critical role in trout production in Tennessee and nationally. The loss of Erwin NHF would jeopardize production at Dale Hollow NFH, and add costs for our TWRA hatcheries. Erwin NFH raises trout to adult stage and harvests eggs for distribution throughout the National Fish Hatchery System, and provides eggs to two of our state hatcheries at no cost to the State.