Dear Editor:

The water supply from the Tennessee River is vitally important to Scottsboro, Jackson County and the surrounding area.

Just recently a report was sent out not to eat the fish out of the river as they contained high amounts of Mercury. Since the 1960’s, the Milfoil and Hydrilla have been a major problem in the river and lakes. Efforts to treat this problem by the Tennessee Valley Authority have been ongoing with chemicals, harvesters, grass crap, etc.

The aquatic weeds have slowly spread up the river and now are far reaching from just a few years ago. A new weed to add to this problem is Hyacinth.

Over the past year, several meetings have taken place with TVA and the stakeholders. The stakeholders being representatives from city, county and state government, water and electric public utilities, the chamber of commerce and water authorities in our area.

Many suggestions have been offered to TVA to help fund the efforts to control the aquatic weed problem. The Tennessee Valley Authority states they do not plan to fund this program after 2019. As you can see, 2019 starts in less than six months.

Local groups like the Roseberry Rescue Group have formed to raise money. Just a week ago, I received a letter asking for $750 from each person to raise $180,000. Just a few years ago, our Homeowners Association gave $10,000 from our treasury to help in this effort.

I don’t feel it is the private sectors responsibility to fund these very expensive projects. Our local elected officials are our voice.

The Tennessee Valley Authority controls the river and lakes. Any boat house, pier, boat launch and treating the water has to be approved by TVA. TVA controls the first 50 feet of shoreline along the river. This is called the SMZ, SHORELINE MANAGEMENT ZONE.

I feel the treating of the river and lakes are TVA’s responsibility. In my research, I found that the CEO’s annual salary/compensation in 2017 was $6.45 million. Each top executive salary is between $1.5 and $2.5 million.

The TVA Board is very well compensated. The average of a TVA employee is $85,000, which is 20-30 percent above the private sector. In 2017, over 10,000 TVA employees received a $10,000 bonus, which totaled greater than $127,000,000, according to a report by WRCB-TV in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

This revenue is net profit from what the consumer in the Tennessee Valley pays for electricity and other business ventures. These numbers illustrate to me there is money for TVA to continue treating the river and lakes.

Dr. Bret Hartis, of TVA, spoke at a recent HOA meeting, stating that any effort to raise money through an increase in water bills, fishing license, boat launching fees, etc. would have to be approved through our state government.

Every household and business throughout several counties in North Alabama uses the water. The tourism dollar is a major source of income in our area. Unless a solution is found in a very timely manner the quality and quantity of our water supply may suffer.

The fishermen like a certain amount of the aquatic weeds, but I am sure even with the best effort some of the weeds will remain. I am told citizens are self-treating the water, which can cause major problems.

Please talk to your city, county and state representatives to reinforce how important it is to find a long-term solution to this problem. This issue has been put on the back burner long enough.

—Johnny McCrary

Scottsboro

(1) comment

GLMorgan

Well said Johnny. The TVA Board has a specific responsibility regarding environmental stewardship, they are not meeting their legal responsibility. Control of aquatic nuisance species is part of that responsibility.

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