Lamar lines up $1M per year in TVA funding to keep fish hatcheries open

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander announced Monday a “permanent” funding fix for three regional trout hatcheries, including two in Tennessee, that calls for the Tennessee Valley Authority will reimburse the facilities $1 million annually to keep them in operation, reports the Johnson City Press.

Alexander helped broker a temporary deal in 2013 to ensure Tennessee’s national hatcheries — the Erwin site and the Dale Hollow National Fish Hatchery in Celina — would receive funding through 2016.

TVA President and CEO Bill Johnson said from Erwin that the agency will pay the facilities in Erwin, Celina, and the Chattahoochee Forest National Fish Hatchery in Suches, Georgia, to provide trout for stocking in TVA lakes in Tennessee and Georgia.

The reimbursement will go to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and be disbursed from there, and the money will support operations that provide trout stocking programs in 13 TVA tailwaters and reservoirs.

“Thanks to the TVA, the Erwin and Dale Hollow hatcheries will be remaining open permanently,” Alexander said in front of a crowd of more than 100 on a very warm day. “This is important to Unicoi County and Erwin. The hatchery is more than a building.

“It means one million trout will be released each year into Tennessee waters. It’s good news for fishermen and the businesses that serve them. Thanks to the TVA board, it was their decision.”