SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE ASSOCIATION
400 Scruggs Road, Suite 2100 - Moneta, VA 24121
PROTECTING THE INVESTMENT OF SML RESIDENTS
January 24, 2012
Governor Bob McDonnell
P.O. Box 1475
Richmond, Virginia 23218
Dear Governor McDonnell:
The Smith Mountain Lake Association (SMLA) represents 1323 member families and property owners around Smith Mountain Lake. We are a non-governmental, citizen organization representing our association’s members’ interests. We respectfully request your assistance to reopen the Vic Thomas Hatchery, formerly the Brookneal Hatchery, this year.
The Vic Thomas Hatchery annually spawns and hatches millions of striped bass and stocks Smith Mountain Lake with striped bass fingerlings. The economy of the lake community is heavily dependent upon tourism drawn to Smith Mountain Lake by the lake’s reputation as a premier destination for striper fishing. Fishing guides, marinas and all other lake area businesses stand to lose a large percentage of their annual revenue without striper fry being stocked to maintain striper levels. In addition to the important role stocked striper fry play in the local economy, they are essential to maintain a balance of species in Smith Mountain Lake.
The fingerling from other hatcheries proposed to be stocked in Smith Mountain Lake are hatched and raised using different methods than used at Brookneal and may have a higher mortality rate when introduced into Smith Mountain Lake. Additionally fingerlings from Vic Thomas Hatchery were sold to other states and the loss of this revenue may impact Virginia’s budget.
SMLA is also concerned that there are not adequate plans to maintain stocking levels in the future. Though the existing population of striped bass in Smith Mountain Lake will help maintain a balance for 2012, stocking levels beyond 2012 are of critical concern.
We understand there is an exception policy for rehiring which would enable the position at Brookneal Hatchery, vacated due to retirement, to be filled. Knowing that this is not a new position and that funding for hatcheries comes primarily from licenses and fees from boating and fishing, we urge you to fill this open position and reopen the hatchery this year. Additionally the temporary positions to run the hatchery prior to stocking need to be filled.
We appreciate your consideration of this matter and look forward to your response.
Kristina Mize, President
Smith Mountain Lake Association
Mr. Robert W. Duncan, Executive Director, DGIF
Mr. Doug Domenech, Secretary of Natural Resources
Senator Mark Warner
Senator Jim Webb
Congressman Robert Hurt
Delegate Charles Poindexter
Delegate Kathy Byron
Delegate Lacey Putney
Senator Steve Newman
Senator Ralph Smith
Senator Bill Stanley
Senator Frank Ruff
Delegate Lacey Putney
Ms.Kathleen Guzi, Administrator, Bedford County
Mr.Rick Huff, Administrator, Franklin County
Mr.Dan Sleeper, Administrator, Pittsylvania County
Mr. R. David Laurrell, Administrator, Campbell County
Mr. Frank Simms, APCO
Ms. Pam Dinkle, TLAC
Mrs. Vicki Gardner, SML Chamber of Commerce
Smith Mountain Stripers Club
Mr. Doug Hughes, Lake Gaston Association
Mr. Sherwood Zimmerman, Leesville Lake Association
Mr.David Ferraro, Claytor Lake Association