Welcome to Fall! At least it seems like Fall around here! It has been another difficult year weather-wise for snorkel sampling/monitoring. It seems like we have gone from one extreme to another. Last year, there was barely enough water in some of our streams to work. This year....well, it's been rain, rain, rain! Not that much! But just enough to keep many of the streams murked up enough to interfere with our snorkeling. But, it is hard to justify complaining about the weather when so many are suffering the effects of two monster hurricanes along the Texas, Florida and Southeastern coasts, and throughout the Caribbean...with another on the way! Not to mention the droughts out west that have lead to so many huge wildfires! Our thoughts go out to all of those people!
But, as usual, we have not been sitting around idle! We had a pretty good year in the hatchery! Two species we have propagated in the past, Blotchside Logperch, Percina burtoni and Tangerine Darters, P. aurantiaca, really came through for us this year! We have propagated both of these in the past, but have always had problems producing either in good numbers. Persistance often pays off! This is a great illustration of how we are working "without a net" around here! There is no instruction manual for these non-game stream fishes! We learn new things every year and cudos to our hatchery staff for tweaking our methods as needed to improve production of these difficult species!
Tangerine Darter photo: Todd Amacker
And speaking of hatchery/field staff, we would like to welcome Derek Wheaton as the newest member of our team! Derek comes to us from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. We are happy to have him! We will get a Staff Bio and picture up on the web site sooner or later. These things move slowly around here! And we welcome Meredith Hayes back after she took a bit of a hiatus to work on her Masters degree at the University of Tennessee. Actually, she never left, but dropped down to part time working. In fact, ALL of our staff have really stepped up this past year or so and I'd like to personally thank Crystal, Missy and Rebecca for all their hard work! I know I've said it before, but Pat and I are lucky to have a group like this working with us!
The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has made it possible for us to spend a bit more time helping introduce local kids to the beauty and aquatic diversity of some of our streams and rivers. They have supplied funding to CFI for the purchase of equipment for the kids to use in the streams! CFI has participated in assisting the TVA, Little River Watershed Association, Trout Unlimited and the Nature Conservancy at various times throughout the season with Kids in the Creek and Stream School events. We love being a part of these excursions....getting kids in the water. Many of these kids have never snorkeled and they are amazed at the things they see under their local waters! We can only hope that their exposure to the unique beauty of our Southern Appalachian streams sparks an appreciation of the natural world around them that will last a lifetime. These are great programs and CFI is proud to be able to assist these other organizations during these events.
Some excited little "Stream Schoolers" photo: Jon Michael Mollish
I started writing this about a week ago when the weather was dreary and chilly! Now, it's welcome back to summer! We are taking the opportunity to get out into the field as much as possible now. There's still a lot of work to be done before water temperatures and leaf-fall make snorkeling impractical. So, with that in mind, I am going to wrap this up! Thanks to everyone for your continued interest and support!