MUMMERT: --Uh--the following is an oral history interview conducted as part of
the Tennessee Valley Authority Retirees Association Oral History Pilot Project.
The person being interviewed is Ben Jaco. Mr. Jaco is
a retiree of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). He worked at--uh--the
Tennessee Valley Authority for 33 years between 1955 and 1988. He is being
interviewed by Philip Mummert as part of the Pilot Oral History Project. The
interview location is the Knox County Public Library, Fountain City Branch, in
Knoxville, Tennessee. Today is Tuesday, October 31st, 2017. The interview is now
beginning. Well, good morning Mr. Jaco.
JACO: Good morning, Phil.
MUMMERT: --Uh--thanks for doing this. I'm going to begin by asking
you--uh--what--uh-- were the circumstances that led to your being
00:01:00hired at TVA.
JACO: Well, I came to work for TVA at a time, in--in the fisheries field, when
fisheries for fresh water in the United States, other than trout, was just
beginning. There had been almost no people who had ever worked on reservoirs
because reservoirs were always brand new. The Corps of Engineers had built some
and TVA was in the process of finishing some. And it was a new time and so there
was nothing really to go by. We had no--and I came to TVA as one of the very
early people working in aquatic ecology. My--my field was fisheries at that
time. And I came to work for an outfit that was--that had fish and wildlife
people. And we had a total of eight people throughout the Valley. And I replaced
a guy that was--was moving up because the boss retired.
MUMMERT: And that in--in--uh--1955--uh-- most of the TVA--uh--lakes
00:02:00and reservoirs had been--uh--impounded. So, they were--some of them were brand
new, I suppose and others were--had been around for maybe decade or so?
JACO: It had--it had gradually grown and--and my particular operation had two
major offices. One in Norris, Tennessee, that took care of all the reservoirs
from Chattanooga east and one in Decatur, Alabama, that took care of what
happened in TVA reservoirs from Chattanooga west. And it was--was an interesting
time. We--at the time I came to work, I touched base with my boss once a week.
He called me on Monday morning to find out what I did last week and what I was
going to do this week.
MUMMERT: Now, did you--uh--want to work at TVA? Did you seek them out or did
they come to find you?
JACO: No, at the time, I wanted to work for TVA because I had worked for
Mississippi and had done graduate work on two Corps of Engineers
00:03:00reservoirs in--in Mississippi and was working for the Mississippi Game and Fish
Commission at the time. And TVA was in the process of expanding and all the
states surround were in the process of expanding. The Congress had just recently
passed two bills of legislation. One which allowed taxes on wildlife supplies,
guns, ammunitions, and so forth, known as the Pittman-Robinson Bill. And the
fisheries had a similar bill called the Dingell-Johnson Bill that put taxes on
fishing tackle, and this was providing a great deal of money for the states. And
all the states were expanding their fish and game operation, and as well--all
the Valley states were at that time were hiring. And so, everything was new.
MUMMERT: Did--uh--TVA get any of those revenues?
JACO: No, it--it was all--all went to the state. TVA had a group of people that
were basically hired to take care of the responsibility of TVA reservoirs,
and we--then and now--didn't have any trouble saying fish, and game,
00:04:00and the resources belonged to the state. And our job was to stand between TVA
and the state to be sure there was good communication going both ways.
MUMMERT: What--uh--was or is the responsibility of TVA when it comes to fisheries?
JACO: Good question. TVA has whatever responsibility that they want to place on
themselves as to what their requirements are. But it also requires that we deal
directly with the states, who own the resources, and with the Federal
government, who--who dictate migratory stuff like waterfowl. But TVA changes so
much happened in the streams.We changed all the flow of the streams, we changed
the dissolved oxygen, in the stream, and this job stands to be sure TVA protects
the states and that we are protected within TVA. It's what we do.
MUMMERT: And that change you referred to was because of the dams being built?
JACO: Because of the dams being built. And--not only the dams being built, but
the annual flow of the reservoirs w--were changed entirely because the dams
could fluctuate it. Otherwise, it would have been spring floods and fall drawdowns.
MUMMERT: So, what--uh--what kind of issues were there when you just began at
TVA? --Uh--what--uh--were the challenges in--in these new reservoirs when it
came to the fisheries?
JACO: Phil, when I began, we didn't really know what the challenges were. It was
so new that a great deal of our original work was to go out and find out what
the challenges were--find out what kind of population of fish and wildlife and
vegetation, all the conditions under which they lived. None of those things were
well known and some of them were not known at all. And so, we spent a great deal
of our time out finding out what was happening in the reservoirs and
00:06:00what was there to happen too.
MUMMERT: Do you have any interesting stories about what you found or maybe--uh--?
JACO: I--I--I have a lot of interesting stories about what we found. But,
basically, we didn't find anything that was--was unusual except that we really
didn't know it was there to begin with. For instance, we--we had collections of
fish and wildlife that had been made back in the 1930s by people from University
of--uh--Missouri excuse me I mean University of Michigan and places like that.
We had specimens shelves in glass bottles. But we really didn't know what all
was in the reservoirs and what proportionate. You know, if you wanted to talk
about a particular fish, how many of those fish were in a reservoir and where
were they? We didn't know any of those things.
MUMMERT: And I guess--uh--you didn't have much informations to figure
00:07:00out--uh--what impacts the dams had on the river then.
JACO: And--and nobody at that time--I shouldn't say nobody but, at that time,
people didn't really care. They didn't know that they should care. We had plenty
of fish and wildlife and nobody worried much about it. And--and one of the--the
state game and fish commissions up until that time, that dictated things, mostly
dictated the laws towards harvesting or protecting something. They didn't have
much information either.
MUMMERT: When you began--uh--you worked--uh--across the Tennessee Valley or did
you spend most of your time in one particular area dealing with a--uh--say a few reservoirs?
JACO: My area of responsibility was from Chattanooga downstream, though I did
get called to come into East Tennessee on a number of occasions. One thing
I can remember that I spent a good deal of time in East Tennessee was
00:08:00they were building a new reservoir on the Little Tennessee River. And it
was--actually, it was an Alcoa reservoir. And so we had to come in and
everything was changing. We didn't really know at that time that when we built
Fontana Reservoir, Fontana Reservoir was going to stratify, that is, the top
water was going to continue to flow through, and the bottom water was going to
be impounded and stay there for long periods of time and get very cold and there
would very little dissolved oxygen. It was it--some sort of saying. So, when we
came in to build this particular reservoir, we had to go all the way back into
the tributary streams in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and try to find
out what was left. And we finally decided the thing to do was just to eradicate
the population of fish that were there and start over. And that's what we did,
and I came up and helped with that. And that's Chilhowee Reservoir today.
MUMMERT: When--uh--when you went out to try to first discover what was there,
what--uh--did people in the fisheries field do to--to try to get answers or try
to get information?
JACO: Phil--. We primarily relied at that time on two things. One, nets of
various sorts. Go out and see what we could net in the way of fisheries. And the
other there is a plant called derris. And if the roots were powdered and--and
dissolved in water, and then put back in the water in a diluted form, they kill
fish. And so we'd go into certain areas, maybe a cove that had one acre in it.
And we'd kill all the fish in it, pick them all up, and weigh them and measure
them, classify them, and--and diversify them and see what we had. Those were the
two major tools that we had.
MUMMERT: How did you--how do you spell the name of that plant?
JACO: D-e-r-r-i-s. Derris.
MUMMERT: Okay. The--uh-- so you--you began to become more educated
00:10:00though about what was--
JACO: Ev--everyday was an education. Everything was new.
MUMMERT: So, you recorded the information as you were going on.
JACO: Recording what kind of fish we had, what the distribution of those fish
and sizes were. We measured each one of them as far as length and we weighed
MUMMERT: In those days--uh--did the states have--uh--provide you with much help?
Or were you--was TVA--?
JACO: Always. We never worked without state people. We--we considered the
resource to belong to the state. And everything was coordinated before we went,
while we were there, and on the records after we got through, they were all shared.
MUMMERT: What would the states' responsibility be though? --Uh--doing the same
sort of--uh--research work or?
JACO: The same sort of research work, but the state is basically responsible for
the preservation and management of these resources. Not TVA. TVA
00:11:00manages the streams, but the state manage the reservoir and we tried to work
very closely with them.
MUMMERT: And the states--uh--did they always work well with TVA or was there a
little bit of friction there because TVA was new and different?
JACO: Not always. Anytime you have two groups of people working together, you
have some friction. But, generally speaking, the friction was more personality
conflicts than what we were going to do and how we did it. And at that time,
most of the states had never had technical people. They had what they called
game wardens, and--and they were a form of policemen. And so they were all just
as new as we were. We all started out together.
MUMMERT: --Uh--we've been talking--uh--uh--about fisheries. What
about--uh--uh--land wildlife? Did you--uh--have anything to do with that?
JACO: We--we did have to do with that, but most of the land, TVA-owned marginal
lands around some of their reservoirs. We actually did own some other
00:12:00land that I won't get into because I'm not too familiar--phosphate lands in
Florida, where we mined phosphate for fertilizer. We didn't deal with those
lands, so I don't really know how they were handled. But the land--the margin
around the reservoirs was--was--what we worried more about anything else was
vectors, ticks and that sort of thing. The state also worried about what was
going on. But, we did do certain things--uh--. We tried to re-establish some
stuff. There's a big peninsula in Norris Reservoir that at that time was given
to the State of Tennessee to be shared by their game and fish people and their
forestry people. We did manage to re-stock deer on there. We did some things
like that in the early days. And we worked directly with the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service on migratory waterfowl and they had several big refuges in the
Tennessee Valley for migratory waterfowl. But, on the marginal lands,
00:13:00other than just small things, we didn't do much.
MUMMERT: Now--uh--could you give me a--uh--an--a--a thumbnail sketch of your
whole TVA career? --Uh--just--uh--what different positions you had and was it
always in Fish and Wildlife?
JACO: No, I came to work as an aquatic ecologist, a--a fisheries biologist, and
ended up much later as an aquatic ecologist, as--as our knowledge of things
grew. But I started off being responsible for the fisheries and wildlife in the
western half of the Valley, from Chattanooga down. Later traded with a man who
was responsible for the east half of the Valley. We traded so that we'd both
know the whole Valley. And then I finally was brought to Senior Biologist, and
then Assistant Branch Chief, then finally for a while a stay as
00:14:00Branch Chief, but--but just a temporary sort of thing. But we--we've--in our
latter days, we had several reorganizations. We also inherited the people that
were responsible for the all the vectors in TVA. The people that were
responsible for the control. We--we did a lot of planning for things in the
latter days, like the Land Between The Lakes and that sort thing. We really took
part in a lot of that sort of thing. I'm not really sure what I can tell you
about what we did, but all of our business expanded. The nuclear generation came
along and we grew from an outfit that had 10 to 12 people in two years to an
outfit that had 88 technical people. We just exploded over that.
MUMMERT: Now--uh--and why was that?
JACO: It--it--primarily, it had to do with the effect that nuclear plants were
gonna to have on--on fisheries and on the other aquatic plants and
00:15:00insects, that are known as plankton, if you will. But it also had to do with
protecting TVA from what people say these things might do. One of the things,
probably not a good time to talk about it Phil--but it should be mentioned here
somewhere. That we realized that when we built nuclear plants, we realized that
when we built coal-fired steam plants to begin with, that when we pulled the
water through the plant to--to cool the plants, we heated the water. And that
heated water came out in the old plants at about 10 degrees above normal
temperature. A 10-degree change can have a lot of effect on what goes on in the
water. And so we--we worked with that sort of thing. And then we had to bring in
people to monitor the effects of that to be sure because, at the same time with
nuclear generation came along, EPA (Environmental Protection Agency ) came
along. And the Environmental Protection Agency had certain things that we'd
never had to deal with before. So, we had to deal with all those
00:16:00things to be sure we met what we were supposed to meet. And then water quality
standards came along about at that same time, and we had to be sure--sure we met
state water quality standards. So, a lot of things changed.
MUMMERT: Well, I'm going to take one of these changes one at a time. Let's
take--uh--the--uh--period when coal plants were first introduced. --Uh--I guess
TVA would take the in--the initiative to be--uh--concerned about what the
impacts might be? Or was there some Federal or state impetus.
JACO: As near as I could tell, TVA was always interested in whatever effect
anything new happened on that they did. When I came to work at TVA, they were
still--I'll use the word "suffering"--under the Eisenhower Administration that
had told them to quit building coal-fired steam plant. No more fossil plants.
And so, the--what's now the Johnsonville Steam Plant sat there half
00:17:00completed. It had a great four story tall, corrugated tin wall on one end where
the second unit was supposed to have gone in, we called that the Eisenhower
wall. But we were--we had certain plans, but we were at that time just at a
stopping place with coal-fired plants. Widows Creek was just beginning.
MUMMERT: Widows Creek is in Northern Alabama?
JACO: Yes, in Northern Alabama. Excuse me, Paradise Steam Plant is out in
Western Ken--Tennessee. I mean excuse me--I--I. Excuse me, let me--let me get
my--. The Johnsonville Steam Plant is in West Tennessee. That was the one that
had the Eisenhower wall. And the guy who later became responsible for all of
TVA's construction and the head of that was named George Kimmons. George was
still out there fur--figuring out how he could get that plant built.
MUMMERT: Well, when the--uh--the coal plants were built, or maybe
00:18:00even--even before--uh--monitoring the impacts of--uh--operating coal plants on
the river, was that something new to the nation? And was TVA a leader in that or
would that have been something that everybody was doing?
JACO: TVA was one of the early pioneers in coal-fired steam plants. We had no
idea what effect they were going to have. And of course, I fell off on the
water, but I was also part of the Forestry Division that realized at that time
that the effluence from the stacks. That is the stack gas from the burning coal
was also having some effect on forests around. They didn't know what that was,
but they thought we ought to find out. And so, we had a lot of that sort of
thing going on. But, TVA was a real pioneer in this and continued to build
st--uh--coal-fired steam plants at a later date. And--and had coal-fired
steam plants all over the Valley, and we ultimately realized that
00:19:00what we call stack gas was having some effect. And we built a--a super tall
e--effluent stack, if you will, in one of our plants. And at that time, Mr. A.J.
Wagner was Chairman of the TVA Board and--and we called that the Wagner stack, so.
MUMMERT: And that was the higher they were, the more--?
JACO: The idea being that we could disperse it further. And--uh--in fact, it was
dispersed very far. Some of the stack gas that came out of that stack went far
outside the Tennessee Valley.
MUMMERT: So, long before--uh--there was--uh--Federal requirements for
environmental impact statements, you were doing environmental impact work?
JACO: I was doing a lot of environmentally impact work.
MUMMERT: And you had to come up with the--probably the methods yourself
and think about how to best get the information that was needed.
JACO: In my field, almost everything we did we were--we were the pioneers.
In--in reservoir fisheries, TVA is probably the pioneers in most of it.
MUMMERT: Now, did that--did other utilities--uh--were they interested in the
kind of work you were doing?
JACO: Yes, but not to the extent that we were. --Uh--I know the old Southern
Corporation that I knew some of the people in very well--they had Mississippi
Power & Light, Arkansas Power & Light, and Louisiana Power & Light.
They--they--they did what they had to do, but they--they had pretty basic things
they did in the early days. The only other one I can think of that--that got in
it early and probably had a real--real interest in it was Duke Power Company.
We--in the early days, we were able to--particularly when we first got out of
the coal-fired and into nuclear plant, we did a lot of cooperation with Duke
because they were doing some of the same things.
MUMMERT: --Uh--what period of time are we talking about, between when
00:21:00TVA first built a coal-fired plant and--and built pretty much--uh--its last one?
JACO: Phil, I'm not sure when TVA--.
MUMMERT: Was that after you started or before?
JACO: No, they--they--they were--they were just really starting the coal-fired
steam plants when I came.
MUMMERT: So that was in the 1950s when they began.
JACO: 50s and--and--they--they built on up until the nuclear generation came in
in the 1980s. And at that time, we were still completing Paradise Steam Plant,
which was, the last, of as far as I know, the last one that we built.
MUMMERT: So, let's go to the nuclear generation. That's when you said your staff
increased to how many, or the fish & wildlife people?
JACO: Wh--we--we, multiple, multiple times. I know we--we at one time had
almost 100 people in our branch. And that's unheard of for us.
00:22:00Because most of those things, all of them had special things. We had
another--the office that we had had, that I started out in, in Decatur, Alabama,
we moved to Wilson Dam to be part of the whole TVA concept down there. And they
were c--closely associated with--with another branch that had come along called
Water Quality, that was associated with water--to water. And it--it was a new
and different time in the 1980s. But, we still had an interest in coal-fired
plants and then we finally just kind of dropped it and we got deeply involved
with nuclear plants. And--and then nuclear plants became very controversial,
even within TVA, and, as everybody knows now, we got in the process of building
some and had to stop right in the middle of that. And environmental matters got
to be very, very important and we had lots of environmental things to deal with.
And we-- we had lots of things going on.
MUMMERT: --Um--what were those environmental things or issues with the--with the nuclear?
JACO: All sorts of issues. All sorts of nuclear, but from our standpoint, our
basic interest in what was happening to the temperature of the water and any
dissolve gas changes that might be taking place because of the heated water. And
whether or not TVA could adjust the total flow of the river to do things like
cool the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant which was in Alabama. Did you--do--do you
have a right to let--to change the whole river flow to be sure you have enough
cool water there all the time? Those sort of things we had to deal with to try
to figure out what to do.
MUMMERT: But those sorts of ideas were--were--uh--quite novel, unknown, and
also--but also the--it was the TVA--uh--dam system that enabled you to even
think about them as possibilities.
JACO: The dam system and, at that time, TVA had what we called an engineering
lab that modeled almost everything we did. And the engineering lab had to do
things like figure if you wanted to deliver a constant source of cool water to
Browns Ferry while the--Nuclear Plant while the generators are running, how much
and how long and at what time do you release it from Fontana Reservoir or Norris
Reservoir in time to flow down the system through the other dams? All those
things had to be figured out.
MUMMERT: For the person that's--uh--listening to this interview or reading
it--uh--let's give them some distances here. Because, we're talking about
Fontana, which is in North Carolina and Norris Dam which is north
of--uh--Knoxville in East Tennessee. But--uh--Browns Ferry is way down in
Northern Alabama. So--uh--what, 300 miles?
JACO: At least, and the rivers that--that Norris is on and the river
00:25:00that Fontana Dam on are two entirely separate watersheds that enter the
Tennessee River at a different place. And so, all of that has to be scaled and
modeled--and mathematically modeled. And I guess one of the great blessings that
all of this happened about the same time that computers happened. Otherwise,
we'd of never figured it out.
MUMMERT: But it was figured out and what was it implemented?
JACO: It is im--implemented today. If you have a long hot, dry spell, and
you--you try as hard as you can not to run cooling towers because they're
expensive. And if you can just take the river down and take the amount of water
you need down the river and transfer it in the river channel, you're well ahead
financially and well ahead--uh--environmentally.
MUMMERT: And I guess that would take--uh--months for--uh--some water
00:26:00from up in a tributary to make it all the whole way down.
JACO: Weeks anyway. And some of it--and--and some of it of course, pools on the
side of the reservoir. It doesn't all come down. So, different things happen in
each reservoir, and you have to model the reservoir to find out what happened.
MUMMERT: Now, about the--the same time that--if I'm correct, the same time
that--uh--nuclear plants are being considered and--and built, the Federal
government passed the water quality amendments, which s--was a whole
new--uh--thing for you as well.
JACO: They did--and it dictated that each state should set their own water
quality standards within certain limits. And so, we worked with the states to
try to decide what do fisheries need to have to have in those water quality
standards. And so, it--it re--enquired us, and me basically, to work with all
the state game and fish commission to try to figure out what we'll do with that.
And then TVA had a-- by that time had a whole division of people that
00:27:00dealt no--with nothing but water, and it came up through that particular
division, which was Water Resources.
MUMMERT: Did you find that--uh--each of the states were a little bit different
or d--was there some conformity in their what standards were?
JACO: Some conformity. But not--not much difference, each of them wanted to be
within safe limits. And of them had certain industries in their states that they
didn't want to do without and they didn't wanna not protect, and so it--it was
more difficult in some states than others to arrive at a standard everybody
could accept. And--and Fisheries people almost without exception were the hulks
in the whole thing. They were the ones that--that's not strict enough. Let's do
it a little different. And so, we found ourselves in some fairly controversial
things, but we worked it all out.
MUMMERT: I wonder if you could--uh--talk for a little bit about the changes in
the technology and the methods that you had available to you from
00:28:001955 on through your career to--8--1980s.
JACO: Phil, I really don't know where to start. Everything changed. One of the
things that--I know when I first came to work for TVA--this is an aside, but
interesting--we had a lot of different division people out in the field. And I
represented Fisheries. In Guntersville, Alabama, which was about 60 miles from
where I lived, the Water Resources people had folks that kept up with rainfall,
river flow, and that sort of thing. We had a--a good boat, and--uh--two good
boats, a motor, and the Water Resources people didn't have much of anything. So,
we found ourselves working with them a great deal because we used their
instruments and they used our boats. And we made concurrent things, which sounds
kind of strange, but really it made pb--people within TVA work a
00:29:00whole lot more closely together than they would have otherwise. And so, we knew
each other quite well. And everything changed. We--we most everything that we
did by hand. For instance, we had thermometers that had big cables on them and
when you were measuring water temperatures 50 feet down, you had enough cable
that you could've cabled up a bridge with it. And all of those things changed
instruments--a lot of instruments remote. --Uh--recording instruments at--at our
nuclear plants, we--by that time, thermometers that recorded were available. And
you could sink the thermometers at whatever depth you wanted and pick up once a
week or once a month, take the tape out of them. All of those things changed,
technology got so much better. And I hope it is still improving.
MUMMERT: I'm sure it is.
JACO: Does that answer anything you need to know about that or? Along--along
with all--I mentioned that a little earlier, along with that came
00:30:00computers. First, TVA built a big mainframe computer at Chattanooga. And for
people like me in my fisheries field, if we wanted to do any modeling or do
anything on the computer, we had to do it at night because the computer was busy
all day doing other things for TVA. And then, little by little, we got laptop
computers, oh desktop computers at that time. But back then all the--all the
language was scientific, we had no universal language. And so it was a different
kind of thing. Then, and then personal computers came in and we all had a
personal computer, changed everybody's life and everything you could do changed.
And so, everything changed along the way. Everything changed, when I first came
to work for TVA, we had a motor pool, and so we used cars and trucks in common.
Finally, we got to the place where while we still had a motor pool, we issued a
lot of special things---special vehicles. For instance, I had a lot
00:31:00of--several special trucks, and--and crew vans, and things that did not go back
to the motor pool except to be serviced. We used them and so they were always
available to us. And much more handy and much better suited to the job than what
we had to begin with.
MUMMERT: I have one question back on the computers. When--the early days of
computers, and you were talking about TVA having a big mainframe. How did you
collect data at that point? And did you have to carry the data cards and things
like that to the--the computer mainframe?
JACO: Phil, let me go back a little before that. Before that time, we used punch
cards. I don't know if you could remember punch cards or not.
MUMMERT: I remember them in my--I remember them in my college registration days.
JACO: All of that was entered on punch cards. And we had a lady and she still
lives around here in Knoxville, almost as old--we had a lady who was deaf, she
could sit at a punch card machine all day long and it didn't bother
00:32:00her. And it was a real jewel. She punched all of our cards when we did that.
Then we had--hired a fellow who was smarter than the rest of us on computers,
and he did all of our computer modeling. He worked at night. And he came in and
did all of our computer modeling, sent it--the information Chattanooga, and got
it back. And if we were lucky, we would have it the next day.
MUMMERT: What--uh--types of questions would the computer modeling help you answer?
JACO: Mostly numerical questions. Anything that had to do with a great deal
of--of mathematical computation that you didn't want to have to do on a desktop
calculator. For instance, if you--if you build a nuclear plant and you take a
certain amount of water through it each day to cool the--the--the nuclear
reactors and it comes out, it's going en--en--what we call entrain. In the water
as it goes through there, you're going to take in lots of small fish,
00:33:00millions and billions of small fish. What's the effect of it all on the total
fish population? We--we were un--unable to really do that in the short period of
time without a computer. And what is the effect?
JACO: It--it--it's quite interesting and--and it happened so quickly. I think I
told you when you came in, that--that my job--I had a most interesting job.
And--and because of what I did and the kind of things I did, at one time or
another I interfaced with almost every other division in TVA. In the early days,
they hated to see us coming because what we wanted them to do. Usually the
decisions were made by engineers and the engineers thought that whatever
engineering thing they did--even though it might affect us a little bit, they
didn't think it ought to affect us too much. And we thought they ought to
re-engineer it, so they'd say: "Oops, here he comes again."
MUMMERT: What--uh--this may be a difficult question to--to answer. It's a broad
question. But--uh--were some of the changes or improvements to the fisheries in
the river system that you saw through your career, in--in whatever way you want
JACO: Phil--Let--let me go all the way back to before my career. The--the two
people that came for TVA prior to World War II. They came into the old
Biological Readjustment Division. Came because--.
MUMMERT: Biological Readjustment?
JACO: Yes, that's what they were called at--prior to World War II. And they were
brought in--of them was Dr. Abraham Wiebe, who was one of the smartest people I
ever knew. And he had--had made his way from Canada through a Ph.D.
00:35:00at Iowa State. And his--his field was really water densities and this sort of
stuff, but he got involved in the biological things. And--and going back to what
you were asking, what was happening is that we were--really we being the people
that preceded me--thought that if you impounded a reservoir on a river, the fish
were all gonna die because they were river fish. There was no history to look
at. Nobody knew what happened when you impounded a river. There were a few being
built at the same time by the Corps of Engineers, but everybody thought they
were going to just disappear. And then the--the next generation of people that
came along suddenly realized that not only didn't they disappear, but certain
fish--particular there were some fish that people that you know, are fishing out
there largemouth bass, and blue gill, and white crappy, and that sort--just
exploded. They--they multiplied many times. And, all of a sudden, we
00:36:00started worrying about, we've got an awful lot of fish out there to harvest and
we harvest a great many fish than we do--so the big thing started towards
liberalization. We can take the limits off a lot of fish and the seasons off of
a lot of fish. And so, everything changed from one of preserving something
that's going to disappear to sharing something that's going to multiply. And
those--those days went on until really the 1970s. Excuse me, is that--that what
you're looking for?
MUMMERT: Yes. And--uh--in the 19--uh--70s, were there--uh--I guess it--it got
more complicated or?
JACO: It elec--well everything changed. And first and foremost as I say, fishing
equipment changed and the number of people fishing changed. And when--when I
came to work for TVA '55, I had a 10-horse outboard engine and
00:37:0014-foot boat, and we thought that was great equipment. By the 1970s, engines had
gotten up close to 100 horsepower, which they're three times that now. But big
boats and big engines, people could cover great amounts of water in a reservoir
instead of just stopping somewhere and fishing. And everything changed, and
people started concentrating on so-called game fish that they could catch
artificially with artificial lures, particularly the large mouth and small mouth
bass. And I'll--I'll-one other thing I'll touch on here. By that time, we had
established striped bass, which is really a saltwater fish in the TVA reservoir.
And so, people started fishing and everything changed in that direction. People
started having bass fishing contests and fishing for the biggest bass and the
most bass in one day. And they multiplied also, so we started having concerns
about some of the fish. But understand that--that what we had the
00:38:00concern about, all we could do was collect data and advise with the states that
had the right to regulate those things. And they did and--and it worked out well
MUMMERT: And, of course--uh--uh--TVA--uh--and the states were happy to see the
fishermen come. Big money.
JACO: Big money. Big money all the way down the line. --Uh--all this as, I--I
think I said something a while ago about the Dingell-Johnson Act that allowed
those things to be taxed. And that money got to be larger and larger. State Game
and Fish people got not only more numbers, but much better educated. The people
that came out were better educated and we--we were able to do a lot of things
that we couldn't do before. Can I, we were talking about, can I injected
something I shouldn't have. I--in the 1970s, when, it became apparent in the
1950s, there was a saltwater bass, a striped bass that's native up
00:39:00and down the Atlantic Ocean and spawned in fresh water. It ran up tributary
rivers to spawn. It became apparent over in the--in a Santee Cooper Rivers
in--in South Carolina that this fish was not going back to the river--going back
to the ocean. It was staying in those reservoirs and continued to live there and
spawn. And so we realized--the Fisheries people realized that fish could be used
as a freshwater fish. And so we set about trying to establish--. It's a big fish
and can go up above 50 pounds. So, we tried to establish it in TVA reservoirs as
a trophy fish. And that required that, strangely enough, South Carolina said you
just can't come over and catch them and carry them away from here. If you want
to come over here and catch them on sports fishing equipment and buy a license
to catch them, you can do what you want to do with them. So, we accumulated a
couple crews of state people, mostly Tennessee people and Kentucky people,
and went over and caught a bunch of them and brought them back and
00:40:00released them first in Cherokee Reservoir and later in--in Kentucky Reservoir
and established striped bass. That's--that goes along with what we were talking
about, people spending more money on more equipment for something else to catch.
MUMMERT: And the--uh--one thing--uh--while you were talking that came to mind in
the 1970s, I guess. There's one--uh--fish story that--uh--historians know a lot
about I think if they read about TVA. And that is the snail darter. Did you
ever--uh--get involved with that issue?
JACO: Phil I was--I was the person--my crew was directly responsible for the
snail darter. At that time I w--
MUMMERT: Why don't you give a little background of what--uh--happened.
JACO: The snail darter happened-- it's fish that we didn't know
00:41:00existed, and then a--after it was discovered we still didn't know was existed. A
professor at the University of Tennessee took the fish and keyed it out in
taxonomic tables and said: "This is a new fish. It's unknown, it's not known
anywhere else." And so, it became a very controversial fish as to what was going
to happen to it when we built a new reservoir that TVA was building, called the
Tellico Reservoir. And it became so controversial, that it end up in courts and
the Tellico Project was finally stopped. And we spent an awful lot of money
looking for a snail darter somewhere else, trying to see it if didn't exist
somewhere else. Ultimately, we did find it in two more locations. And it--it--it
still exists and--and it's still a controversial thing. And then I don't want to
get into the details of it, but we--we--we stopped the protocol of
00:42:00the Tellico Project for a while and didn't get started again for several years
until dictated by Congress that we should finish it.
MUMMERT: Well and--and that--uh--the university professor used the new--I think
it was new at the time Endangered Species Act to--uh--.
JACO: That--that was--that was the Act in which we went to court over, that we
were threatening a species that was going to be exterminated. And the Endangered
Species Act declared that once that fish had been declared threatened or
endangered, we could not endanger it again. And so, the states went to--went to
court over it, the states and some private citizen. Incu--I--I should mention
Dave because he's proud of it. Dr. David Etnier at the University of Tennessee.
Dr. David Etnier. This is the fellow that--that says it's--was going to be
exterminated. And we spent a lot of money in TVA trying to find it, trying to
propagate it. We actually set up a lab to prop--to--to propagate it
00:43:00and--uh--we found out that that was not too acceptable either that--that--to go
get the fish to use for--for the generation to propagate. We couldn't do that,
they were endangered. But at any rate, we finally got it settled. But it--it was
one of the other things that happened with the Threatened and Endangered Species
Act--and I'm glad you brought that up, because it caused other problems in other
places in TVA.
MUMMERT: What sorts of things? Just--uh--I guess the Endangered Species Act
en--enabled anyone--citizens to identify things they thought were unique or--.
JACO: Petition, go to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and say: "Hey,
this ought to be looked in to." And usually it was looked into in it on a--on a
Federal basis. And we looked in to it. We--in the Tellico, I told about how
close our cooperation was between us and state. We found ourselves on opposite
sides in the Tellico project. And it had a third--third factor in it
00:44:00really in that the Little Tennessee River, at the time we built Fontana Dam, the
whole regime of temperature was changing below Fontana Dam. And the Little
Tennessee River, where Tellico--where on the lower stretches where Tellico was
going to be built, was below Chilhowee Reservoir and the state was managing that
for cold water fish, for the trout water. And if we--if we built Tellico, we
were going to do away with one of the trout fisheries of East Tennessee, and the
state did not want that. And so, it got mixed up, it was hard to tell what was
threatened and endangered species we were protecting and where it was cold water
fish that we were protecting.
MUMMERT: That was the--that was Tennessee they had the interest in the trout
fishing? It wasn't new--North Carolina?
JACO: Tennessee. And it was at different fisheries. Yeah it--it wa--they didn't
have many trout fisheries in Tennessee, the Hiwassee River, that
00:45:00river, the Doe River up above Watauga. Their cool water fishing--their cold
water fishing was--was pretty rare in East Tennessee and it was something
different and it generated a different kind of funds and attracted a different fisherman.
MUMMERT: I--uh--again steered away or--uh--have been focusing on fisheries,
but--uh--any--uh--evolving issues with--uh--land--uh--wildlife through your
later decades that you had to deal with?
JACO: Mostly with w--w--wildlife. I guess the big thing that happened when I was
at Decatur, TVA decided, that somebody had the bright idea that the land that
was going to be generated between--between the Cumberland Reservoir, a river the
Cumberland was going to be a big peninsula down in the lowest end of the
Tennessee River. And I'm not sure, it seems like to me it was some
00:46:0055,000 acres. But, it was proposed that it become a recreation area c--and--and
it finally did, it became Land Between the Lakes. In that area, there was a U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service waterfowl refuge. And so we agreed if we did the Land
Between the Lakes we'd move that waterfowl refuge. And so we had to go over on
the Cumberland River and find a place that we could buy and establish a new
refuge, which we did. And so we maintained this and we maintained a number of
wildlife--wildlife refuges up and down TVA for migratory waterfowl for as long
as I was with Fish and Wildlife. And we established one--when we established a
new Tellico Reservoir, it was the last one we established. But, all of those
fell under our purveyance. The Fish and Wildlife Service provided the
00:47:00people, TVA c--correlated the water. Some of them had what we called pumped
storage areas. That is, when TVA was in flood season, they flooded great areas
behind dikes, and then when the water went down, we let the water out--pumped it
out from behind those dikes. It--it was--could best be used and so there's what
we called de-watered areas and were largely used for wildfife--wildlife, some
squirrels and deer, but mostly for--for migratory waterfowl.
MUMMERT: I see. --Um--as your career--uh--progressed--uh--were there--uh--were
there things that TVA did in--uh--Fisheries or Wildlife that--uh--had an
impact--uh--beyond the Tennessee Valley? Were there many that or--?
00:48:00Or you just, so many that you don't know or--?
JACO: Yeah, a big impact beyond the Tenn--Tennessee Valley. And we had a number
of people who came in from foreign countries who visited with us to see what we
did and how we did it on reservoirs. --Uh--largely, I guess the last group we
had were from the Three Gorges [Dam] group in China. We had and it was--they
came over to find out what we did differently. And technically, we did a lot of
things differently because they didn't have the--the scientific equipment over
there to do it with. But they've been catching fish for a million years. They're
way ahead of us catching fish. But, at any rate, we--we did a great deal of
that. And personally, it meant a lot to me because at the same time, the
Dingell-Johnson Act came along, there was established an American Fisheries
Society (AFS), which was a coalition of all the fisheries people in really North
America--Canada, the United States, and a some in--in Mexico. And we
00:49:00became deeply inv--I became deeply involved in that. And--and it was established
at--it was set up in sections, had cold water fisheries and warm water fisheries
and we had various sections that did different things. In the Southeast, one of
the ones we did to share information was--was a Warm Water Streams Committee and
a Reservoir Committee--two different committees, that we had representatives on
those committees. We went once a year, anyway, and had a common membership that
met together and shared papers of what we've done new this year and--and then
they carried it back home. And then we had national groups that--that--that did
different things that--. We all--several of us belonged to that shared. We had a
fisheries administrator section, which were the people that administered the
fisheries groups from various states. And we had, I--at one time, I
00:50:00headed up a committee that was Environmental Concerns Committee that was--that
generated fisheries policy for the field. What was our policy going to be on
things? And so, we--we not only shared a lot of what we knew, but we learned a
lot from other people that we were able to bring back. --Uh--and I guess it may
be a good thing to say, it Phil, so everybody understands. In the fisheries
business, until recently when people started raising fish here in the United
States--fish cultures--there was no proprietary information. None of us had
anything we minded sharing with somebody else. And so, if you had something new,
you shared it with somebody else. One of the--one of the things that I was most
proud of when I was with TVA is back in the 30s, there was a group of people in
Texas that developed an electro fishing rig, they called it. It was a big
generator and a boat. It had a negative circuit and a positive
00:51:00circuit suspended one above the other in the water. And they would go along and
generate great amounts of electricity and get rid of gar, which was a fish that
they didn't think they wanted in some of the rivers in Texas. Well, later on, a
guy in Georgia got interested in that and got me interested in it. And we looked
at it together what we did, and we generated an electric fishing rig that is
widely used in the United States now and sold commercially, on a big boat that
was safe, that delivered direct current to the water. Fish surround themselves
in direct current. They head toward the pole and if you can pulse it a little
bit, they'll swim toward that pole, which means that you can pick them up from
down below and let them come to the surface, and look at them, put them back in
a live box, and put them back in. So, that became a big sampling tool and we
were able to distribute that around to a lot of places.
MUMMERT: So you invented that?
JACO: Well, we didn't invent it, we just--we just modified it. It's one--it's
one of the things that--that we did because it was--there was no equipment for
us. And I want, at this point I want to mention a man who's not going to be
mentioned anywhere else in your thing. When I was working in North Alabama, the
people that--that I worked with at the next office took care of these things
that I call dewatered areas. And they had a man that serviced the pumps, who was
really a machinist; but that was the job that he had and he built all sorts of
equipment that I was able to describe, and he could build. And he--his name was
Raymond Snoddy and I want to give him credit for that cause he built a lot of
equipment for TVA. And I don't know what he built, I know one of the things he
built for me. You age fish--fish that have scales you can age most scales, they
put on rings like trees do for growth, and so you--but fish like a
00:53:00catfish can't do that. And so we found out that certain bones on those fish, if
you saw them in two, very, very thin and magnify them, they too put on rings.
And so we had a spine--what we called a spine saw to saw catfish. And Raymond
figured out how to build that thing so it would--would saw down to, I think it
seemed like to me five millimeters--a tiny, thin thing, those are still in use.
So, various things like that that we just developed as we went along. We had to
have it, so we just kept deeper until we got it to work.
MUMMERT: What--looking back over your career--uh--what do you think was your
most important accomplishment?
JACO: Well, I guess my most important accomplishment, if I could--had nothing
much to do with fisheries, was to getting state people, and Federal
00:54:00people, and TVA people to talk together about problems that had--had vexed them
that nobody really attacked together. We--we--we worked a lot of things out. You
know, if you think about the things that go on out there now, all of those
things had to be worked out. And--and you asked me one time: Do--do you have
anything unique?" And I think this is just a unique thing that happened to tell
you how far apart we were at one time. There was a papermill down at Charleston,
Tennessee, that had to put in an effluent pond, which means that when they
pumped their waste water out it had to settle in a series of ponds before it
went back into the Hiwassee River. And the guy that was--was the manager down
there knew me, called me one day and said: "Ben, we're having real trouble with
the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency." He said: "We need to build an effluent
pond." And they said: 'No, you can't--we don't want you to do that."
00:55:00So, we finally got together with them and--and we--and told them a place on a
TVA bank that TVA could let them have some TVA property to do. And so they
negotiated that with the TVA Land Branch. And then Tennessee said: "What we'd
like you to do is build us a fish hatchery that we can hatch striped bass to put
in the reservoir to make up for what you are going to take away from us." Okay.
So, the mitigation thing got started and we got--got it all and Tennessee
decided what they wanted. And it went on for months and months, then one day my
phone rang and it was that guy again. He said: "Ben, we're not able to get this
done with Tennessee." He said: "They sent us plans for a fish hatchery and we
can't fit that fish hatchery on the--on the land that we have available." Well,
and I'm telling you this to show you how far apart people are. At any rate, I
went down and took a look at it. Tennessee had sent the plans for a
00:56:00fish hatchery they had built over at Clinton, Tennessee. It was already in
existence. And so, they told them what they wanted, they said: "This is what we
want." But they didn't give them enough information to say, hey you know, it
doesn't have to be configured like this. We want this many ponds, with this many
acres in it. And so, it turned out that there wasn't any problem at all with it,
except that they just didn't talk together to find out if it be could done
differently. Can't you--do you have to do it this way? And--and I think
everybody learned a whole lot from that. We learned, and the gaming people
learned and certainly the papermill people learned.
MUMMERT: So--uh--you and the people around you though--uh--helped usher
in--uh--the era of some more cooperation and communication among
the--uh--different governments--and that, certainly, we take for granted today.
JACO: TVA was-- TVA was established to do most of the things that a
00:57:00lot of different agencies do outside in the Tennessee. Agriculture, all this
sort of thing. TVA did to begin with. But, basically, TVA was an engineering
outfit. It was run by engineers who thought that most everything that had a
problem, the first place we went was an engineering solution. Engineering
solutions don't fit too well with natural things. That--that nature doesn't do
things according to engineer's plan. And so, we had to learn to talk together.
It's--it's--I--I can think of one--one of the things that--I'll tell you one
other aside that was always a beaut. One of the engineers that I dealt with,
that we had these meetings that we would have with the Power, particular for
water releases, and we would say: "Well, we need a certain amount of water and
it needs to come at a regular rate because we need to support the
00:58:00fish below the--below the dam. Well, we can't do that, it costs too much money.
And somebody could always tell us exactly how much money it would cost. And we
would have to say--they'd say: "Well, you say you ought to do that,
what's--what's the chances you ought to do it?" And we'd say: "Well, if it's
better than 50/50, it's a good chance." That's not an acceptable answer. But, at
any rate, I was working one day with a man and he came to a meeting and he had
his assistant with him, who had just come to work. And the first time I had ever
seen a pocket calculator. And we were doing something and this guy got his
calculator out and he did it and--and his boss got his slide rule out. And so we
got through and we got through with the meeting and went to lunch, and--and I
asked the boss, I said: "Tom, that guy know what he's doing?" And Tom said: "I
guess he does if his batteries don't burn out." Which--which can tell you what
some of them thought about computers. But, I--I'm not sure I'm
00:59:00answering your question. I'm just drifting off.
MUMMERT: Yes, you are--. --Uh--do you have any other--uh--most mem--most mem--?
JACO: Well, one of the ot--other things that I spent a great deal of time and
TVA has spent a great deal of time. In the Tennessee River were freshwater clams
called mussels. And these mussels were developed in a flowing stream. Different
streams flowed very rapidly in some places, very slowly in other places. But we
didn't--we being the people that were in TVA didn't worry about mussels because
that was an unknown thing. But, by 1957, we had some mussel diggers who---people
who collected mussels. And they collected them by dragging hooks along the
bottom that would catch in the mantle of the mussel and they would harvest them.
They sold those shells to the Japanese cultured pearl industry in Japan, because
it--they found out that mussel shells ground into beads could be
01:00:00coated with nacre and produce pearls, and it's the only shell that they ever
found that could do that, freshwater mussel shell. And so, it became very
important to the Japanese and they came to this country, and it then became
important to the people that collected mussels. And so we became very interested
in 1957 in what we could do, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service sent us a
biologist in to work with us and we tried to investigate what was happening.
And--and found out that, basically, in the mainstream reservoirs there wasn't a
whole lot that we could do about those things. They were going to continue to
regenerate but below dams. And then we got into the regeneration and found out
that almost each species of mussel is generated by spreading eggs, if you will,
in the water, that embed themselves in the gills of certain fish. Each mussel
shell has a specific fish they must have. And they, in turn, fall off
01:01:00and become mussels. And so we got interested in--in that part of and hired a
couple of malacologists to come in. All--all of this is just something else we
did. But, then we had people that got really involved in it and found out how to
generate cultured pearls a lot more cheaply another way. And so cultur--cultured
pearls are not as expensive as they once were unless you get pearls that come
from the Inland Sea in Japan, from companies like Mikimoto, and so forth that
are still very valuable pearls. But, then we got interested in saving what
mussels were left, and we found out that we had a whole series of mussels that
were classified threatened and endangered up on the Clinch and Powell Rivers and
some other river. And so we set about having people on staff that dealt with
that, to work with the Fish and Wildlife Service to set aside with the Game and
Fish people, certain areas of those streams that should be used for
01:02:00mussels. And--and we then got also involved with the universities with fresh
water mussels on the Clinch and Powell Rivers, deeply involved with--with--with
Virginia Tech. They--they had people that were interested. But things like that
happened and we just proliferated. Everything was changed. I told you that--that
I had an interesting job. I was looking--I made a list of things that--that I
thought you might ought to talk about and you've talked about several of them.
But, there's all sorts of things that--that went on that it was never a dull
life. We--we had something going all the time and it was very interesting. A lot
of it was controversial and--and most of it we were able to solve.
MUMMERT: That's--uh--a fitting note to I think--uh--end the--the interview on.
And--uh--with--if you'll let me ask you one final question, this may be the most
difficult one. --Uh--are there any questions that I have not asked
01:03:00that you wish I had? Maybe there's something on your list there.
JACO: I--I--. Well, we did so many things we had--and--and you had so
much--shotgunned so much of it. One--one of the things, I think Phil, maybe that
we should touch on, that we need to talk about is the control of aquatic
vegetation. That also fell under our bailiwick in a lot of years. And as waters
warm up, and they slow down and we get silt in streams, we've had more and more
problems with aquatic vegetation growing in the shallows of TVA reservoirs. And
we spent a lot of time and money, trying to figure out first how to get control
of them. And of course, we all know how to get control of them with chemicals,
but we really don't want to use those chemicals if we can get--. And so we set
about trying to find out and found out that there was a fish that
01:04:00originated in the eastern area of the USSR called the white amur that eats
vegetation. That's what it lives on. And we set about, at one time, we spent $1
million dollars generating white amur fish to put in the Guntersville Reservoir
to control the--the vegetation. And that's just one part of vegetation control.
But, we used that and by, once again, fisheries scientists in Arkansas had
figured out how to generate one sex fish. We had all female fish so that they
didn't--didn't have a chance of expanding and going anywhere else. And so we
bought enough of those that were generated in Arkansas to put in Guntersville to
control the weeds. Did a pretty good job of it as long as they lasted, but then
it was going to be a terribly expensive thing to keep putting them in and TVA
decided not to do that. And so the weed problems are back and now somebody, I
don't know who, but I'm sure that we can contend with them a little
01:05:00bit by fluctuating reservoir levels but not to a great deal but except on the margin.
MUMMERT: Um--hmm. So that the challenges continue.
JACO: They do. And you know, I--I won't get into it but there's just endless
numbers of things that we got involved in that--that--that unless somebody asked
a question you wouldn't--you wouldn't know to talk about it. Heated water
research, we set up a heated water research station over at the Gallatin Steam
Plant in Middle Tennessee for a while to find out if we couldn't use heated
water to generate and raise commercially fish like tilapia that are saleable
fish and sold in all the markets. That they're very hard to raise because they
can't endure cold temperatures, and so you needed them in the heated water all
the time. And we set up an operation over there to try to find out if we
couldn't raise--. We wr--we tried catfish-- grow--grow faster in
01:06:00heated water. Just take the heated water from the steam plant and mix it with
other water and control the temperatures. So, we controlled it 365 days a year.
And we ran that for several years.
JACO: We were successful and we--and we put out some information on it. But,
everything changes. By the time we were doing that, the culture of those fish
were changing to such extent somebody found out how to do it better another way,
and now they've found out that they can grow them in heated buildings. And they
found a way to heat the buildings, and I think some of the biggest tilapia
people that I dealt with before I got out were in North Dakota.
MUMMERT: Is there anything else that you would like to say?
JACO: No, I--I just look, stuff that I--just ran through stuff that we did.
We-- we had a lot of problems that we dealt with too, Phil. One--one
01:07:00of the problems we dealt with that back in the, really in the late 1950s, all
the people in the Tennessee Valley, there was still a lot of cotton farming. And
people that farmed cotton used two kinds of cotton poison on boll weevils and
bollworms, which was a barth. It was--it was obviously washing off after they
used it, washing into tributary streams and killing fish. And we set out to find
out to what extent it was killing fish and had a group of people that came up
from the CDC (Center for Disease Control) the Disease Control people from
Atlanta to work with us. And we went around monitoring streams. We got on the
back of what's now Redstone Arsenal, it got in a stream and it had--all the silt
in it had tremendous amounts of DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) in it. And
we couldn't--we couldn't figure out why, and we went on and--. Well, to make a
long story short, we found out that after World War II, when Redstone Arsenal
didn't have anybody on there, they leased out some of the buildings.
01:08:00And one of the groups that boug--that leased them were people that manufactured
DDT. We found out that when they had a bad batch of DDT that didn't work well,
they just went out and dumped it in a pasture. And all of this was washing into
a stream. Well, to make a long story short, all that was washing down stream and
getting in fish. And, a lot of people, particularly in a little town called
Triana in North Alabama, that was at the mouth of this stream, which was an
all-Black town, nothing there but no--all the residents were Black. And they had
tremendous levels of DDT in their blood, and that alarmed everybody and we set
off to find out what we might do about it. And so we--we got--got into that and
actually built a little reservoir for the city of Triana so that they might buy
fish and put in there to catch rather than going down on the creek and catching
them. It's a big long story but-- but it--it's quite interesting.
MUMMERT: I--uh--covered some of that story not too long ago with--uh--someone
you probably worked with, which is Tom Hunter, who was--
JACO: He was in a different division.
MUMMERT: He was in a different division, but he was involved in community
JACO: We--at that time, we had a Chairman of the Board who was very, very
interested in minorities. And he was extremely interested in what he thought we
had done to the little town of Triana. That was Dave Freeman, Dave was very
interested in that. And so we did--he--he stayed right with--probably stayed
right close with Tom also.
MUMMERT: Well, Mr. Jaco, I appreciate your time. This has been a wonderful
interview, you've had a fantastic career. And it's changed--things have changed
a lot over those 30 years and you've got to see them and actually create some of
those changes too, I suspect--mostly for the better, I think.
JACO: Phil I--. Well, I hope it's for the better. But we--we had a great gang of
people and we have really enjoyed it. I like to think that we contributed a lot
to the field of fisheries, and I like to think that I met an awful lot of
wonderful people, an awful lot of skilled people by being able to work with TVA.
MUMMERT: Thank you.
JACO: You're welcome