THEY SAVED TAILRACE FISHING
Solving the September 11 Tailrace Problem
NOTE: Sergeant Karyn Carter works with the TVA Police Department in Muscle
Shoals, Alabama, as the first-line supervisor for the Muscle Shoals sector
of the western district of the Tennessee River.
QUESTION: What happened on September 11, 2001, and what
was TVA's response?
CARTER: Well, we were carrying on business as usual and then, like everyone
else, we heard about the terrorist attacks and the airplanes hitting.
We immediately began to implement stronger security at our facilities,
as directed by our director in Knoxville, Tennessee.
QUESTION: What did he tell you all to do?
CARTER: He told us to respond to our critical facilities. I'm not allowed
to say which are considered critical, and which are considered not critical.
QUESTION: So all of the people in law enforcement for
TVA went to the facilities that they where responsible for, right?
QUESTION: How long did that alert last?
CARTER: We have not stopped being under alert since that day. We've continued
patrol of the facilities so we have constant knowledge of what is happening
on our properties.
QUESTION: What was your response about closing the tailrace?
How did that come about, what did that mean, and how did you all do it?
CARTER: I don't know who gave the initial orders. My supervisor told me
areas 100 yards on either side of the dam were to be shut down to boat
QUESTION: How did you manage that? Physically, what did
CARTER: The officers patrolled the area by vehicle and by boat. When people
got too close to the dam in their boats, we'd ask them to leave the area.
Did anyone refuse to leave these regions?
CARTER: Everybody left when we asked them to leave. We did not have problems
with people saying that they would not leave.
QUESTION: How quick was this enacted after the September
CARTER: Within two weeks.
QUESTION: What did fishermen say about the tailraces
getting shut down?
CARTER: I heard on the news and in the paper that they were very unhappy.
They felt like if traffic could still go across the dams, they should
be able to fish near the dams. They also said that since they fished at
the dams all the time, they would know if someone was there who shouldn't
be. They didn't feel they were a threat, and they thought that if we were
going to continue to allow traffic on the dam, then why not allow it below
So where did the Lake Watch Program start?
CARTER: The program started in the Shoals area between Wheeler to Wilson
Dam down to the Elk River and up through Pickwick Lake.
QUESTION: And cars could drive across Wheeler Dam even
during the September 11th alert?
CARTER: Actually, cars could drive across both Wheeler and Wilson dams.
QUESTION: And so the fishermen asked, "If you are going
to permit traffic to go across the dams, then why can't we fish the tailrace?"
How did y'all respond?
CARTER: I don't know. I'll be honest. I don't know what TVA'S response
to that was.
To learn more about the Lake Watch Program, call (800)
839-0003, or write TVA Police, P.O. Box 1010, SB 1K-M, Muscle Shoals,
TOMORROW: THEY SAVED TAILRACE FISHING