Many positive things have taken place to help the environment since the first Earth Day celebration in 1970, including the now 35-year efforts of Conservation Fisheries Inc. (CFI) to preserve biodiversity in southeastern rivers and streams. Since our establishment, CFI has partnered with over fifty government, academic, and non-profit organizations across the country to protect threatened and endangered species. Thanks to our passionate and dedicated team and the loyal support of our donors, we have successfully propagated over seventy fish, including some of the most imperiled species in the southeastern United States. To date, with our partners’ support, we have successfully re-established twelve fish populations that had been eliminated. Others are in progress. One of our newest projects is to reintroduce the Federally-Threatened Yellowfin Madtom into the North Fork Holston River in Virginia. Funding for this is provided by the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (VDW) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

It’s been a busy Earth Week for the CFI crew. While Derek Wheaton (CFI) and Mike Pinder (VDWR) were releasing more than 400 one-year-old Yellowfin Madtoms that had been propagated at CFI into the North Fork Holston River in Southwest Virginia.

Photo: Mike Pinder

While Derek was in Virginia ,another CFI crew was snorkeling the Little River near Knoxville. They were braving this very chilly stream in an attempt to collect the Blotchside Logperch as broodstock for another CFI reintroduction project. Drysuits were a MUST! Photo: Mike Pinder

Pat decked out in his drysuit! Photo: Thomas Fraiser/Hellbender Press

Evan, in the foreground, searching for Blotchsides Photo: Thomas Fraiser/Hellbender Press

This kinda reminds me of a Bigfoot photo! And, if you know me (J.R.), you know that name probably applies!

Photo: Thomas Fraiser/Hellbender Press

Above is a photo of an adult Blotchside Logperch in the Little River, Blount County, Tennessee. These very visual fish typically inhabit relatively deep pools or runs with clear water. Catching these wary adults in clear water takes a crew of several crafty folks herding or corralling the fish into seines or dip nets (if we’re lucky!).

The photo at left shows juvenile Blotchside Logperch bred and raised in the CFI hatchery. Individuals resulting from this project are destined for Citico Creek in the Cherokee National Forest. Funding is provided by the Tallassee Fund, and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

And on Earth Day (today!), Bo Baxter and Pat Rakes loaded the CFI field vehicle with Endangered Boulder Darters bound for Shoal Creek in south-central Tennessee. They released about 220 yearlings raised at CFI.

In addition, 6 adults being retired from breeding services were also released. This project is funded by the Tennessee Valley Authority, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Pat releasing Boulder Darters.

Meanwhile, back at the hatchery, our loyal staff must continue to take care of the breeding adults, eggs, and hatchlings, as illustrated below.

Rebecca Xiques prepares live foods to feed hatchery fish, and Shannon Murphy checking on the status of fish in the CFI hatchery.

We are proud of our contributions to preserving the beautiful aquatic biodiversity in the Southeast and beyond, but our work is far from over. Now more than ever, the protection of our natural resources is a crucial factor in ensuring a sustainable, productive, and habitable world for our children and generations to come. And our efforts show that we can be successful. But the work is just beginning. As we described in our last blog post we have an ongoing Capital Campaign to raise the funds needed to expand and upgrade our facility to ensure CFI is able to continue our work. In support of this campaign, we are currently hosting an online t-shirt fundraiser. Our 35th Anniversary T-Shirt is available in 5 different colors using the following link:


At checkout there is an option for a donation in addition to the profit we receive from each shirt that is sold.

The support we receive from you all is extremely appreciated.

And a final note, our young people are going to be the ones to carry the touch and hopefully make the difference for our planet. It seems one of my Granddaughters has learned a good lesson in pre-school today!

Best Fishes,

The CFI Staff