TELLICO DAM (CONT.)
Judging from a statement given to the House Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife Conservation and the Environment by S. David Freeman, the chairman of the TVA, the Tellico Dam on the Little Tennessee River, home of the endangered snail darter (SCORECARD, June 26), may never be completed. Freeman told the subcommittee that he had grown up in Chattanooga and remembered the floods that had damaged the city before the TVA built dams. He also said he had enjoyed the recreational benefits of the TVA lakes and had witnessed the economic growth spurred by TVA power. He then went on to say of the TVA's Tellico project:
"Conventional wisdom would suggest that since the dam has been largely built, the most economical solution would be to complete the project as planned. Everyone seems to be jumping to that conclusion. But I'm not sure. No one has really evaluated the benefits of an alternative that recognizes the economic values of the food production that would be lost and that places some value on the unique historical sites and fish and wildlife that would be destroyed by the dam and reservoir as now planned.
"Perhaps the Tellico project was the best possible project when it was designed decades ago. Maybe it still is. But there have been dramatic changes in land values and in values of society since this project was planned in 1939. And we must remember that the decision will last for centuries, because once a reservoir is formed, the land is ruined and other values destroyed.
"It is not just the snail darter that has been discovered since the Tellico project was started. The nation is beginning to discover that prime farmland is also an endangered species whose value has gone up appreciably. The bottomlands in the Tellico Reservoir now owned by TVA contain some of the best farmland in Tennessee. The Tellico Reservoir also happens to contain the ancestral home of the Cherokee Indian Nation, and preserving these historical sites has been recognized as a value for contemporary society. And a new generation of Tennessee Valley residents has grown up—many of whom place a greater value on canoeing on a free-flowing stretch of river than motorboating on a lake."
James H. Smith Jr., of Camp Hill, Pa., is the founder, president, newsletter editor and chief bankroller of the Jim Smith Society, which he established in 1969 to help build friendships, have some fun and disseminate news through the Jim Smith Newsletter about Jim Smiths everywhere. Starting on July 14, the Jim Smith Society, which now has 652 members worldwide, including three women, will hold its Ninth National Jim Smith Fun Festival at Wentworth-by-the-Sea, a resort near Portsmouth, N.H., owned—right!—by a man named Jim Smith. "World affairs, domestic policy, zero-based budgeting and how to make yak butter better will be sidestepped, if not totally ignored, at our meeting," says founder Jim Smith. Instead the highlight will be the annual Jim Smith softball game, and you shouldn't need a program to know who's on first. But just in case you do, the night before the game there will be a "Meet Jim Smith" party, at which the favorite greeting will be "Say, I remember your name, but I don't recall the face."
Cus D'Amato, who managed Floyd Patterson and Jose Torres to world titles and who is as shrewd a character as can be found in boxing, believes Muhammad Ali will beat Leon Spinks in their return bout in September. " Ali can still fight if he has the motivation," D'Amato says. "His trouble was boredom. Now he has the motivation—he can become the first man to win the heavyweight title three times. After he does that, I expect him to retire. There's no doubt in my mind that he can make millions a year representing American companies, Arab countries, African countries—you name it—by acting as a go-between on business deals. He'll make far more money than he ever did in boxing, because nobody else in the world can open doors in every country and speak directly to the top man."
Reports that a monstrous white shark 25 to 30 feet long is ranging off Montauk, N.Y. on the easternmost tip of Long Island and has twice escaped capture by harpoon have divided people into two camps: those who believe the stories, and those who say they were cooked up to publicize the opening of Jaws 2. Biologist Jack Casey of the National Marine Fisheries Service laboratory in Narragansett, R.I., the most active shark investigator in the Northeast, thinks the stories have substance, although the white's length would make it the biggest ever known. "The fish off Montauk could be 20 feet long, but unless someone showed me for sure, I would doubt 25 or 30 feet," Casey says. "The largest white shark ever reported was 21 feet long and weighed 7,100 pounds. The liver alone weighed 1,000 pounds. A lot of the body weight is given over to the liver for the storage of fats, allowing a shark to go long periods without eating.
"Not many people have the opportunity to look at a large white shark, because they're not abundant anywhere," Casey says. "I once caught a 14-footer that weighed an estimated 1,500 to 1,800 pounds—we couldn't find a scale big enough—and on another occasion, while I was staring at a 7�-foot hammerhead off one side of the boat, my assistant shouted for me to look over the other side. There was a 20-foot-long white shark, the biggest I've ever seen, and I had plenty of time to estimate its length. But there is a tendency to want to make the shark longer, because the girth is just so enormous.