Sen. Alexander speaks against Corps fishing limits - WSMV Channel 4

Sen. Alexander speaks against Corps fishing limits

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Republican U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander spoke Thursday against plans by the Army Corps of Engineers to limit fishing along the Cumberland River in Nashville.

Alexander was joined by members of the community and representatives of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and the Tennessee Wildlife Federation.

The plan could stop fishing in tailwaters below dams along the river, even when water isn't spilling through the dams.

Alexander announced plans for legislation that would counteract these new fishing limitations on the Cumberland.

"I wish I didn't have to do that. I wish the Corp of Engineers could work with the TWRA, Wildlife Federation and people in this area to let fishermen continue to do what they've done and still provide for the public safety. And I'm still, I think we could do that," Alexander said.

Thursday's event was held at Old Hickory Dam, near an area that the Corps wants to restrict fishing.

Alexander said water only passes through the dam about 20 percent of the time, meaning the other 80 percent of the year should be completely safe for fishing.

"To restrict fishing below the damn 100 percent of the time, even though the water spills through the dam 20 percent of the time, would be like keeping the gate down on a railroad crossing 100 percent of the time," Alexander said.

Tennessee wildlife officials applauded the effort, saying there's got to be a compromise.

"Thankfully, we live in a country that allows us to have a voice, and we have a senator who is willing to stand up in the gap and propose legislation to fix this challenge," said Mike Butler, with the Tennessee Wildlife Federation.

Alexander said if the legislation doesn't work, he has a back-up plan. He serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee that approves the Corp of Engineers its budget.

He said he'll have a lot of reservations about giving them the $2.6 million needed to build these planned fishing barricades.

Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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