The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has issued a final environmental assessment (EA) and finding of no significant impact for its proposal to introduce certified sterile (triploid) grass carp into Beech Reservoir to control the spread of the invasive aquatic plant, hydrilla. Grass carp eat aquatic vegetation, including hydrilla, and therefore are an effective measure to address infestations of hydrilla that would otherwise continue to spread. Triploid carp are sterile and cannot naturally reproduce in a river system, which enables the fish populations to be easily controlled. Stocking grass carp is cost effective, to provide long term aquatic vegetation management, and to reduce the need for large scale herbicide and mechanical management techniques.
In recent years, invasive aquatic plants have continued to spread within the TVA reservoir system, causing environmental and economic impacts. Currently, hydrilla occurs in roughly half of Beech Reservoir. Unabated, hydrilla has the potential to spread into the rest of Beech Reservoir, to other reservoirs within the Beech River System, and potentially to other reservoirs in the TVA system. Hydrilla is capable of rapid growth and reproduction given ideal growing conditions. Hydrilla plant fragments can also be easily transported from one water body to another via recreational and commercial boating. The control of hydrilla increases the overall health and function of newly affected reservoirs, which is an important environmental stewardship objective of TVA’s Natural Resources program.
TVA released the draft EA for this document for a 45-day public review period. TVA did not receive any comments during the comment period.
More information on this environmental review can be obtained from:
Loretta A McNamee
Contract NEPA Specialist
400 West Summit Hill Drive, WT 11D