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  #11  
Old 05-27-2014, 09:33 PM
mstone mstone is offline
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This is the first I had heard of this meeting. I have known of the problems facing our hatcheries and that is a great concern. Would have had to lay out of work, but I figure that if I could have laid out for a day of fishing, then this would have been a no brainer.
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  #12  
Old 05-27-2014, 09:38 PM
waterwolf waterwolf is offline
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Meeting was well publicized compared to meetings like this in the past. Also, it could've been attended via webinar as well.

See the link I provided, those comments can be very useful.

I'd be interested to see what folks send in, as I'm sure others would as well. It can also help pool ideas to make our case stronger
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  #13  
Old 05-27-2014, 10:00 PM
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http://www.tva.gov/hatchery

Here's the link for comments. TVA gives you four options they are considering, so if you're not very articulate, you can copy and paste what you'd like to see implemented.
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  #14  
Old 05-28-2014, 12:16 AM
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Attended via the Webinar (although only made it for the last half or so after having some issues getting it going) and wish I could have made it in person but it didn't work out that way. I believe I heard correctly that the entire meeting recording will be available to listen to online by morning? Could someone verify/clarify that for me? May have misunderstood.

This IS a huge issue as it sounds like we cannot count on much of anything from the US Fish and Wildlife Service moving forward. In other words, a solution from the interested parties will have to be developed if we want to continue with the quality tailwater fishing we currently enjoy... Much thanks to all who were able to attend in person!
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  #15  
Old 05-28-2014, 06:48 AM
waterwolf waterwolf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Knapp View Post
Attended via the Webinar (although only made it for the last half or so after having some issues getting it going) and wish I could have made it in person but it didn't work out that way. I believe I heard correctly that the entire meeting recording will be available to listen to online by morning? Could someone verify/clarify that for me? May have misunderstood.

This IS a huge issue as it sounds like we cannot count on much of anything from the US Fish and Wildlife Service moving forward. In other words, a solution from the interested parties will have to be developed if we want to continue with the quality tailwater fishing we currently enjoy... Much thanks to all who were able to attend in person!
I got the same impression that the USFWS is not reliable to fund this in the future, and it seemed as if TWRA has drawn a line in the sand where they will only contribute their $400,000.

This burden falls on TVA IMO since they're the ones that created the situation where nothing but trout can really survive below their dams.

I also think there is an opportunity to change management strategies on these rivers to lower the costs by way of reducing harvests and managing the rivers with more of a catch and release approach rather than put and take as they are managed now.
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  #16  
Old 05-28-2014, 08:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waterwolf View Post
I bet you'll enjoy those streams a ton when all of the tailwater trout folks are in them daily, including the bucket brigade bait slingers throwing spinners to fill their freezers.

Posts like the above show a level of ignorance that is astounding as to how all of this stuff is tied together.
Somehow I am not too worried about the tailwater people and baitslingers coming to the Smokies. Not too many people are willing to walk a half mile to chase little fish, let alone walk several miles.

Not sure why me going fishing one day and missing a meeting makes me ignorant of how things are tied together but maybe you can explain that to me. So if you could explain that maybe I'm not the only ignorant one here. It sucks when Uncle Sam bails on a system, and I will make a comment online. Your comment that everyone who missed the meeting shouldn't be allowed to fish a tail water is silly, although I'm glad to see you are passionate about the issue.
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  #17  
Old 05-28-2014, 10:29 AM
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Ducky, you get a pass from me becauce I know you will replay the web broadcast, slice it, dice it, dissect it and give your view. I will also add what a few may know about ducky and others do not, this year at Trourtfest he won the volunteer of the year award. This award is not given out lightly due to how many people contribute to the conservation of Trout on so many fronts, it is an honor to receive and he earned it. His work in the Smokies with water sampling and brook restoration is outstanding, and has earned him the role of team leader in some of the most difficult areas in the park to reach. In other words schelping brook trout from one area to the other, and getting water samples in very hard to reach places among other non glamorus jobs. God, I cannot believe I just wrote a testomonial to him! Passions run deep on the care of the outdoors just like politics, I applaud anyone who comments here because for those of us fortunate who live here or near their favorite waters we feel an inherent duty to protect not just for us but for the future, our visitors who come here or follow via the forum from that home or office desk far away. I was at the meeting and will expand in another post what I saw and my perception of it. It is important everyone has an open dialogue to discuss a very important matter but even more so as a collective group we can fine tune the search for answers. Of course it's also why cops hate witnesses's we all can attend the same event and have 99 diffrent descriptions of what happened!
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Last edited by bigsur; 05-28-2014 at 01:25 PM..
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  #18  
Old 05-28-2014, 10:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waterwolf View Post
This might offend some, but it needs to be said.

Anyone who uses our tailwaters that didn't attend should be embarrassed and doesn't really deserve the opportunity to enjoy the resource. I didn't see a single one of the guides who uses the rivers, nor did I see the majority of the regular posters here in attenendance. I guess they're more worried about trivial bs or indicator color to show up to help make sure we have trout rivers in the future.
I was lucky enough yesterday to divert my attention away from indicator color for a few hours and attend the meeting.

I came away with a better understanding of the situation, but concerned that at least one of the four recommendations listed isn't even realistic. That leads me to believe that they are searching for the most palatable means of failure as much as they are searching for a real solution.

Unfortunately, there don't seem to be many options for a real solution without TVA bearing the majority of the financial burden. In recent years, TVA has been under significant pressure to lower energy rates that have slowly climbed from some of the lowest in the nation to only slightly better than average. They need to be reminded that their ability to use Hydro power (costs fractions per mWh compared to Coal, Nat. Gas, etc) comes with a responsibility to maintain a viable fishery in our tailwaters. I think TVA's damming and destruction of a thriving trout fishery in the Little Tennessee only furthers that responsibility.
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  #19  
Old 05-28-2014, 12:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waterwolf View Post
I got the same impression that the USFWS is not reliable to fund this in the future, and it seemed as if TWRA has drawn a line in the sand where they will only contribute their $400,000.

This burden falls on TVA IMO since they're the ones that created the situation where nothing but trout can really survive below their dams.

I also think there is an opportunity to change management strategies on these rivers to lower the costs by way of reducing harvests and managing the rivers with more of a catch and release approach rather than put and take as they are managed now.
Living in Ohio coupled with a family member in I.C.U. prevented me from attending the meeting in person or via Webinar. With that being said, I am very appreciative to all those who were in attendance voicing concern over the funding of the trout hatcheries; THIS IS a very serious situation. I primarily fish the Hiwassee River below Apalachia Dam as I have property located in Reliance, the continued stocking of this fishery is imperative under the present management system in order for it to survive.

Waterwolf, I could not agree with you more, the burden of funding these hatcheries should immediately fall on TVA while alternatives sources are generated. As you said, by changing the river systems by virtue of dams, they have created a habitat below them making it difficult for fish species other than trout to survive; consequently it also produced a multimillion dollar commerce in Tennessee and Georgia. With the total economic output relative to jobs, retail sales and tax base, it would seem to me there is a fiduciary responsibility upon TVA to keep these hatcheries open and subsequent commerce thriving. If the three hatcheries operate on an annual budget of approximately one million dollars each, even with pressure to keep their energy costs down, I find it hard to believe that TVA cannot pass this burden on to its 9 million users by .35 cents annually or 3 cents a month to fund these hatcheries. Heck, my kids piss away .35 by leaving the basement lights burning for one night!

On the other hand, our eyes need to be opened as now is the time to look closely at the way these tail water fisheries are managed. It is evident that no one party wants to come up with the money to keep these hatcheries in operation and therefore cost reductions most likely will have to be invoked. That will mean less fish available for stocking so the preservation of current and future resources must take place to ensure quality fishing down the road. As Waterwolf said, changing these tail waters toward catch and release as opposed to put and take is a practical step in the right direction. I have read publications by TWRA where they indicate that there is no significant evidence to support that natural reproduction takes place on some of these waters; I believe otherwise, that it is totally possible and does happen. Designating areas most conducive to spawning on these rivers as “no fishing zones”, during the appropriate times can prove differently. Continuing delayed harvest programs, introducing slot limits on rivers that don’t have one along with reducing creel limits is necessary as well. While TVA may agree to take on the financial burden alone or in conjunction with another organization, we cannot bank on it or believe Manna from heaven is going to fall. I have always believed that the way these tail waters are managed has been to loose and it is now time to tighten the reigns and think more conservation.
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  #20  
Old 05-28-2014, 12:44 PM
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Last night's meeting at first reminded me of the Erin Brockovich movie with Julia Roberts, a big open sterile room with four guys in suits reperesenting the atomic commission! However in reality it was a rep from US Fish and Wildlife, TVA, TWRA and the Georgia TWRA equivalent. Please take a listen to the web audio, the first 20 minutes or so is there stand or postion than we were allowed to ask questions either in person at the front of the room or online users. The following is my take on what I heard and may differ from others, it's ok we all have diffrent perceptions. I have always described my definition of perception, as it depends on which side of the mountain you live on, in a Colarado winter a family is huddled around a candle praying for spring, on the other side of the same mountain is Christie Brinkley in a hot tub with wine praying for snow. Your reality depends on which side of the mountain you live!

That being said of the four proposals laid out, the first two based on what I heard from the US Fish rep is not even worth discussing as far as their help funding. He was asked numerous times about funding and the takeaway seemed to be zero from them, policy has shifted and funding for hatcheries are off the table. I specifically asked him during my time at the podium "The tap is off correct?" referring to them as a source of funds and he nodded, short of sending me a telegram saying so, it was clear to me Uncle Sam is not ponying up. One person even asked if other funds could be shifted and according to him that would be illegal without a congressional policy shift and it was pretty clear to me he was not willing to do time so I could spend time on the river!

That takes us to the third proposal which is a multi source funding utilizing US Fish, TWRA, and TVA. Well, US Fish has already made clear in the first two proposals, they are out of the hatchery business, so that kills that, in additon to good luck having three seperate agencies agree on anything for a long term fix which is what is being sought.

So the focus seems to fall on the fourth proposal, with TVA picking up the tab and passing on costs to the ratepayers. Our State TU rep Rick Murphee pointed out the math actually worked out to I think he said 10 cents per year per ratepayer based on their figure of annual hatchery funding needs of roughly $906,000 with an annual inflation factor to be determined. The knock on that is your neighbor probably does not want to pay a dime a year so you can play in the water!

TWRA also added that tailwater use fees if implemented would have a negative effect on angler satisfaction, this logic is a sore point for me as I pointed out to the TWRA rep at my time at the podium is if you want to see real angler disatisfaction, see the response a few years down the road with no fish! It's like a beach town saying we will not replace the sand and than being suprised as the resort town fails because of no sand at the beach, the tourists come for the beach just like we come for the fish. One begats the other, action, reaction, no brainer.

I was not discouraged but energized by the meeting, this was a first event in a time line of three years to find the funding. The issue is dire but with prudent thinking on all fronts a plan can be made, the stakeholders group has met once since 2013 as I understood it and this was the first public discussion. Politics aside I did thank Sen. Lamar Alexander's rep for his stepping up to the plate last year and helping get this three year reprive for funding.

As I see it we must maintain open talks with many diffrent groups to acheive the funding. It will not be easy but I truly see this is as not as hard as building the pyramids or going to space, but an obtainable goal.

The thing that dissapointed me last night as I pointed out during my ramblings were the lack of local government or officials in the affected areas. If there was a rep from Anderson county, I never saw or heard from the podium a declared rep for the county. I cannot understand how a community or county so directly affected by the economy of the tailwaters could not be in attendance. A typical day for me at the Clinch which because of where I live may be three to four times a week year round, is buy flies from a flyshop earlier in the day or week, jump in the car get off at the Norris exit, grab some gas for the car, maybe a snack and try to outrun everyone to my spots on the river. The end of the day is many times a hotdog and drink at the Git and Go, maybe groceries at Walmart and go home.

The point being on a typical day I impact three or more businesses at that exit, now multiply that by other locals, visitors to the campgrounds and hotels, boaters buying many gallons of gas and supplies and pretty quickly you see how much revenue is brought to a county that has a tailwater. Now multiply that by the number of rivers in numerous states and the impact mushrooms.

Once again the point being, to acheive the goal we have to think outside the box to acheive the funding we need; all groups have to be brought into the fold. Yes this means putting fly fishing snobbery aside (yes we are all guilty of that even if we won't admit it in public), whether it is bait fisherman, boaters who fish and yes bank fisherman we are all part of the solution and have to be brought to the table.

Every tailwater county has to get involved with local mayors, commisioners and officials, unless they want to be at retail merchants, hotel owners and campgrounds owners meetings at these highway exits as they explain to their employees that due to lack of sales we will be laying off 30% of you today! Our state officials also need to be contacted and made aware of the problem and impact (i.e. our interest in trout=votes, it's a math they eminently understand. As people acquire phone numbers and emails to our politicans please add them here so they can be contacted and made aware of out interests and concerns!

As mentioned in the handout two states have addressed the issue, they need to viewd, and or contacted to see if all or parts of their plan is viable for us. This is a long process that will require cooperation with agencies but most importantly us, the fisherman and his or her family, the tax payer, the merchant, the politician.

I am adding to my signature line, one of my favorite sayings; it is from a TU poster of a bottle of clear water which has the tag line:

"It starts with raindrop."

I would like to expand on that and make it a mission statement for future use of this project.

"It starts with a raindrop, don't let it end with a teardrop!"

Let the discussion begin!
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