Originally, TVA and 10 other Federal, State and non-profit organizations were planning a public meeting in early May to discuss all of the work being done to prevent migration of Asian Silver Carp. Due to COVID-19, it was cancelled, and this virtual webinar was a way to replace it in order to get key messages out to the public. Panelists are all listed on the next page. There were 110 (at last count) media and angler publication reporters in attendance.
Each organization provided an update about the work they have done, are doing or what they have planned for the future. All highlighted the importance of collaboration – while states and agencies have boundaries, fish don’t, so it was important for us to show this during the briefing. Following the individual updates, a Q&A session was held with reporters.
The moderator for the briefing was Thom Benson with the Tennessee Aquarium, with Scott Fiedler, TVA Public Relations, managing Q&A. TVA supported the briefing by organizing the event, gathering and disseminating information between the organizations, developing run-of-show, providing technical support, communications plannning, messaging and Q&A, and managing all of the logistics. Team members from Communications and Environment were instrumental in the success of the webinar.
While this was held primarily for media, we shared a link so that others in the public who are interested in this issue could also attend. They could not speak, but could see and listen to panelists.
Overall, about 45 minutes was spent on presentations. US Fish & Wildlife, Mississippi Interstate Resource Cooperative Association and US Geological Survey all covered their work, both nationally and on the Tennessee River; the states followed up with their role and work; TVA and the US Army Corp of Engineers discussed their roles and programmatic work; the Tennessee Wildlife Federation discussed all of the partners it works with and the funding requests/appropriations; and the Tennessee Aquarium discussed its role of educating and informing the general public about invasive species and how they work with all agencies.
The last 45 minutes of the webinar was reserved for Q&A, and while we had a few lingering questions, we were able to comfortably end the webinar at that point.
The webinar was recorded and it will be shared with all participating organizations, as well as the media. The slides and Q&A will be shared with the media and participants. We plan to conduct a debrief session within TVA and then one with the participants. It’s unlikely we will be able to hold a public meeting in the near future, so we will look at conducting another update in the next 6 months or so using this format. We will plan to hold a public meeting as we are able to do so.
Multi-Agency Webinar for Media on Asian Silver Carp Work Being Done
August 5, 2020
Presenters in Order
1) Allan Brown, Assistant Regional Director for Fish and Aquatic Conservation, US Fish & Wildlife Services
2) Greg Conover, Coordinator, Mississippi Interstate Cooperative Resource Association (also with US Fish & Wildlife Services
4) Duane Chapman, Columbia Environmental Research Center, Columbia, MO,
US Geological Survey
3) Mark Rogers, Tennessee Cooperative Fishery Research Unit, Cookeville, TN,
US Geological Survey
5) Jessica Morris, Fisheries Biologist, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources
6) Cole Harty, Aquatic Nuisance Species Coordinator, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency
7) Larry Bull, Assistant Director of the Fisheries Bureau, Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks
8) Chris Greene, Chief of Fisheries, Alabama Wildlife & Freshwater Fisheries Division
9) Dennis Baxter, manager River and Reservoir Compliance, Tennessee Valley Authority
10) Tim Higgs, Chief, Environmental Section, Nashville, US Army Corp of Engineers
11) Mike Butler, CEO, Tennessee Wildlife Federation
12) Thom Benson, vice president & Chief Communications & Marketing Officer, Tennessee Aquarium