Anglers concerned about spraying on BASSfest waters

DAYTON, Tenn. — The day after BASSfest on the Tennessee River, concerned anglers reported seeing boats spraying herbicides on Chickamauga and Nickajack reservoirs.

“This issue always gets attention from anglers when it is observed,” said Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) fishery biologist Mike Jolley. “The current strategy regarding aquatic vegetation control has been conducted by Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) for several consecutive years on both Chickamauga and Nickajack.”

B.A.S.S. confirmed that TVA is treating invasive milfoil and hydrilla infestations adjacent to public campgrounds, marinas, boat ramps and fishing piers, and that professional licensed, certified applicatorsare spraying around private docks as well.

“Spraying resumed the week of June 16,” said Terry Cheek, TVA senior manager for permits, compliance and monitoring. “All applicators must obtain permits from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) and treatments must meet TDEC regulations using only herbicides that are approved by EPA for use on drinking water systems.”

The TVA plan addresses the needs and desires of many stakeholders, said Gene Gilliland, B.A.S.S. conservation director. “TVA must answer to multiple users. It understands the importance of having aquatic vegetation in these systems to provide critical habitat for bass and forage species. Its weed management is just that — management, not eradication.

“By managing weeds in public use areas and allowing lakefront property owners to do the same around private docks, it eliminates the need for lake-wide treatments that could harm these quality bass fisheries,” Gilliland added.

TVA also resumed spraying on Lake Guntersville the week of June 9 in waters fronting public, private and commercially developed shorelines in accordance with the Lake Guntersville Stakeholders Plan which was crafted with input from B.A.S.S. and other angler groups.