Kentucky, Tennessee Officials Push For Federal Asian Carp Funding

Sep 26, 2019

Credit Nicole Erwin / WKMS

Kentucky and Tennessee wildlife conservation leaders and government officials are pushing for the U.S. House to approve millions in federal funding to combat the invasive species Asian Carp. 

A release by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office said on Thursday $25 million was included in a U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations bill to support initiatives fighting Asian Carp across the country. 

Lyon County Judge-Executive Wade White said he credits U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for including the funding in the bill. If also approved by the U.S. House of Representatives, he said the funds could help support building barriers at river locks that block Asian Carp from spreading, and pay commercial fishermen subsidies to catch the invasive species in Kentucky Lake and elsewhere.

“And it's not only going to protect places like my lakes, but it's going to protect lakes where these fish are heading but haven’t reached yet,” White said. “And that’s going to be important to a lot of lakes in Tennessee and a lot of other lakes around.”

White said he sees combating Asian Carp as a non-partisan issue and is confident the U.S. House will keep the appropriation in the bill. “But until there’s a budget, you never know what’s going to happen,” he said. 

The Tennessee Wildlife Federation, a conservation advocacy group, held a conference call on Thursday in anticipation of the appropriations bill to rally grassroots support to fight Asian Carp in the state.

“We’re already seeing a lot of people talking about the quality of bass fishing on Kentucky Lake, significant declines in the quality of crappie fishing on Kentucky Lake,” said Tennessee Wildlife Federation CEO Michael Butler. “So, these are all gems that we got to protect. So, it’s really why it’s about getting these fish, getting the resources, getting them out of the water.”