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ALERT!!! Federal budget cuts could hurt local trout fisheries

April 15, 2011
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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. Proposed federal budget cuts would eliminate funding for much of what 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 Caney, 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.

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