Update from Representative Tim Burchett’s office:
On December 8th, the U.S. House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 1811. Included within its 369 pages is provision of critical funding and resources to the Tennessee and Cumberland River basins. The Bill is expected to be signed into law by the Senate, then will go to rulemaking, where the Department of the Interior will propose the execution and allocation of the authorized projects.
Their proposed plans will be open for public comment for a limited period of time. The bill and action updates will be posted to the Asian Carp page in the News tab of the TVPOA website after today’s meeting. Specifically, this legislation:
Section 506 (p. 345): Includes language to open support to include all six sub-basins of the Mississippi River and tributaries.
Section 509 (p. 350): Includes the creation of a pilot program with up to ten projects to be carried out in the Tennessee and/or Cumberland River watersheds. It provides $25 million for this purpose. It also creates a Fish and Wildlife Service Asian Carp Eradication Program to provide financial assistance to the states in the amount of $4 million per year (for years 2021-2025).
Congressman Burchett’s Legislative Director Kelsey Wolfgram provided the following statement:
Once Senate Bill 1811 is signed into law, Representative Burchett’s office will continue to be engaged in advocating for funding and programs to benefit Tennessee and to prevent the spread of Asian Carp.
Many of us at Tellico Village have been writing letters to government agencies and elected officials asking them to take specific actions like this one to help prevent the migration of Asian Carp into Tennessee rivers and lakes. Please take the time to send a letter to Representative Burchett’s office to thank him and Ms. Wolfgram for their work in getting this bill passed in the House. Their contact information may also be found on the TVPOA website.
Stop Asian Carp in Tennessee Facebook Page
Last week, the first meeting of Governor Bill Lee’s Asian Carp Advisory Commission was held with the livestream on YouTube. Senator Mike Bell is the chair of the Commission. They are charged with providing a report to Governor Lee by February 21, 2021.
A link to watch this 90-minute meeting can be found on the POA website (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-mCQCEobxY&feature=youtu.be), and a summary is posted to the Stop Silver Carp in Tennessee Facebook page.
I’ve mentioned before that a great way to stay informed on this topic is to follow the Stop Silver Carp in Tennessee Facebook Page. The administrators are doing a great job of posting current information and links to important developments in the efforts to keep Asian carp out of Tennessee waterways.
Some key takeaways from first Advisory Commission meeting:
(1) TVA has been pushing forward with an Environmental Assessment of barriers
(2) TWRA is removing millions of pounds of Asian Carp in West TN; is not seeing new instances of upstream migration in East TN; been refining models for barrier effectiveness
(3) WRDA Bill being shepherded by Rep Burchett is out of committee with $25 million allocated for barriers on Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers
(4) a plan to undertake an economic impact study and form Mississippi River Fisheries Council to attract additional funding to fight Asian Carp.
So, again, be sure to follow the Stop Silver Carp in Tennessee Facebook page, and keep those letters going to our elected officials to keep this subject top of mind for them. We must work together to keep Asian carp out of Tellico Lake!
Congressman Tim Burchett
202-225-5435 (DC office) or 865-523-3772