To: Governor Bill Lee
From: Dr. Timothy Joseph, Fisheries Biologist
Sub: Asian Carp Advisory Commission
Dear Governor Lee:
I have written this report to provide your Asian Carp Advisory Commission with a Plan-of-Action, which, if taken seriously, would prevent a >$1 Billion annual economic loss to the Upper Tennessee River Basin and prevent ecological devastation. I also mailed a copy to each of the 10 commissioners. It is my hope that after reading this report, you as governor along with the Commission, see the opportunity to earn a legacy beyond measure—saving the Upper TN River Basin of four magnificent lakes (Watts Bar, Melton Hill, Fort Loudon and Tellico Lakes) from ecological and economic devastation.
These lakes will follow the same path of devastation that has occurred at The Land Between the Lakes if the silver carp are not stopped. There is NO doubt about that whatsoever. IT WILL take place.
Governor Lee, please understand there is absolutely nothing in this report that has not been done before. The recommendations are nothing new, and I have personally managed and performed most of them myself in my long career as a consultant and fisheries biologist. Yes, it will take highly qualified management and money, but even the money can all be recouped, meaning the State would not be out a nickel.
The opportunity is here to prevent the silver carp from reaching and destroying our lakes as they have in other regions, however, it will take much effort, expertise, and dedication. One only needs to look at the decades long history of the silver carp devastation to see clearly that as many organizations, commissions, agencies, and committees, and the millions of dollars spent to date, have not once “Prevented” the fish from reaching carp-free lakes.
You will see in my report, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says that “Preventing Migration” is the most important goal regarding these fish. Yet, that has never happened simply due to lack of following their guidance. The recommendations in my report follow their guidance (especially in temporarily closing the lock) and WILL save our lakes if implemented and history is not allowed to repeat itself.
Governor, I have no doubt you could indeed save our lakes. I can’t imagine anything more consequential in any administration, nor a greater legacy to receive. Should you wish, I would be pleased to address your new Asian Carp Advisory Commission. As well, I offer my education, experience, and expertise to you and the commission. My goal is only to keep the four beautiful lakes in the Upper TN River Basin magnificent for our kids and grandkids, and the thousands of recreational users and business/marina owners who rely on the lakes. I can only hope you understand and will ask your commission to follow the USFWS guidance and prevent the silver carp from reaching us. This plan-of-action does that.