The Tennessee River Valley Stewardship Council Celebrates World Fish Migration Day 2020

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The Tennessee River Valley is known for its aquatic diversity and tournament fishing lakes. On October 24th, we recognize the importance of conserving marine habitats and the Tennessee Valley Authority’s management of the almost 41,000 square miles of watershed basin comprised of streams, rivers, and lakes.

Credit: Tennessee River Valley Stewardship Council

“The Tennessee and Cumberland River systems have the highest number of rare fish species in the country, with the Upper Elk alone having nine federally listed endangered aquatic species, including eight mussel species.”

Annually, World Fish Migration Day raises awareness of migratory fish and threats to their migration on waterways worldwide. This 2020 event will be held on October 24th, with a theme of “Love Flows.” Organized by the World Fish Migration Foundation, this one-day global initiative calls attention to imperiled migratory fish species and the preservation and restoration of natural river networks.

“The Tennessee River’s aquatic diversity and fisheries are well known to biologists and anglers,” said Julie Graham, Executive Director TRV Stewardship Council. “This river and its tributaries have shaped recreation and economies in the Valley for generations.”

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) plays a vital role in balancing waterways to protect the aquatic basin’s health. Dating back to the 1930s, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt charged the TVA with overseeing devastating flooding in the Valley, managing boat navigation on the Tennessee River, and producing electricity for the region. The TVA built dams that impeded the natural flow of water and developed a method to control the water temperature to support native fish species below the reservoirs.

Recently, outdoor angler and writer Etta Pettijohn spoke with TVA Engineer, Jessica Brazille, to learn more about how the “hot/cold” system at Tims Ford Dam regulates the Elk River downstream. “The success of the program is critical to fish habitat and species,” said Etta. “The Tennessee and Cumberland River systems have the highest number of rare fish species in the country, with the Upper Elk alone having nine federally listed endangered aquatic species, including eight mussel species.”

When you visit rivers and waterways, take a moment to appreciate the ongoing stewardship activities that protect and conserve the aquatic life just below the surface.

The Tennessee River Valley Stewardship Council serves as the steering committee and editorial board for the Geotourism MapGuide website. It is comprised of volunteers from a seven-state region. The Council's efforts are made possible through the generous support of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA).

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Julie Graham
@KarenBeasley
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