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-   -   Clinch River: [Conservation] (http://littleriveroutfitters.com/forum/showthread.php?t=16386)

MadisonBoats 08-21-2012 09:09 AM

Clinch River: [Conservation]
 
I wanted to expand and continue discussion on the threats and opportunities of the Clinch River Environmental Health. My intent is to not invoke negative information. I would like to promote and continue thoughtful discussion on how to improve conservation of the Clinch River and its resources.

Previously related topic: http://littleriveroutfitters.com/for...t=clinch+river

TVA: Environmental Reviews: http://www.tva.gov/environment/repor...inal/index.htm

TWRA: '07 Clinch River Trout Report: http://www.tn.gov/twra/fish/StreamRi...h_trout_07.pdf

TWRA: Fishery MGMT Program: http://tnfish.org/NorrisReservoir_TW...ation_TWRA.htm

USDA/NRCS Report 2009: http://www.lowerclinchwatershed.org/...rClinchRWA.pdf

Notable References:
Quote:

• Cumberland Plateau (68a) tablelands and open low mountains are about 1000 feet higher than the Eastern Highland Rim (71g) to the west, and receive slightly more precipitation with cooler annual temperatures than the surrounding lower-elevation ecoregions. The plateau surface is less dissected with lower relief compared to the Cumberland Mountains (69d) or the Plateau Escarpment (68c). Elevations are generally 1200-2000 feet, with the Crab Orchard Mountains reaching over 3000 feet. Pennsylvanian-age conglomerate, sandstone, siltstone, and shale are covered by well-drained, acid soils of low fertility. Bituminous coal that has been extensively surface and underground mined underlies the region. Acidification of first and second order streams is common. Stream siltation and mine spoil bedload deposits continue as long-term problems in these headwater systems. Pockets of severe acid mine drainage persist.
I believe this is an issue that greatly affects the Eastern Edge of the Cumberland Plateau that drains in to the Clinch River Watershed. There are many beautiful streams in the Briceville, Devonia, New River, etc. areas that are crystal clear. However; they virtually have not aquatic life because they are too acidic.

Quote:

Almost 30 percent of the Lower Clinch River Watershed’s stream miles are listed as impaired by the state of Tennessee due to excessive nutrients, pathogens, siltation, alteration of streamside vegetation, low dissolved oxygen, thermal modifications, and contaminants such as PCBs, mercury, and chlordane.
Quote:

Sub-Watershed
Coal Creek Watershed

Leading Pollutants/Stressors of Surface Waters within Sub-
Biological integrity loss due to undetermined causes, E. coli, and thermal modifications and habitat loss due to stream flow alterations on the upper part of the Lower Clinch River below Norris Dam Minor Municipal Point Source, Septic Tanks, and Upstream Impoundment (Norris Dam)

Bacteriological contamination (Coal Creek)
I do think the USDA/EPA & local community should continue to address the water quality issues of Coal Creek others that flow in to the Clinch. There have been some great improvements to the shoreline stabilization in Coal Creek thanks to CRTU and others...http://www.coalcreekaml.com/BANKstabLINKpage.htm. However; I think the issue of flood waters invigorating and transporting acidic sediment continues to impair the ph and clarity levels of the water entering the Clinch River at the Coal Creek Tributary.

waterwolf 08-21-2012 05:32 PM

The biggest threat by far is the management of the resource, and IMO there isn't a close second.

Run off is essentially a non issue because the 3 tribs are in decent shape, especially Cane and Clear creeks. Coal creek probably puts a little nastiness in the river but it is very minor.

Stripers pose a small but easily fixable problem.

In general water quality is excellent and we are fortunate in that regard.

One thing to note; New river, and any of the other streams that form in Scott county or the plateau where various forms of mining occur have zero impact on the Clinch. Those are entirely different watersheds and could not pose any threats to the Clinch. Currently there is no active mining in the Clinch watershed and the old mines have far surpassed an age of causing any issues.

Varmitcounty 08-21-2012 06:31 PM

I think one of the biggest problems on the Clinch is that there are not enough agents out there monitoring who is fishing and what they are taking out by the stringer load. I have absolutely no problem at all with a person taking some trout for their table as long as they are abiding by the rules of the game. I have been fishing the Clinch for many years and as best as I can recall, I don't think I have ever seen a TWRA agent.

I think the Clinch has become a victim to an abundant overpopulation of anglers. You can visit the big three spots (Church, Miller's, Wier) and need to carry your own rock to stand on. Watercraft can get you from the crowds, but if you wade, your choices are few. The only time I will fish the Clinch is on a weekday and even then at times it is crowded.

Just curious, how many of the people who have an issue with the quality of the river are active members of the Clinch TU chapter?

Corbo 08-21-2012 09:24 PM

Thank you VARMIT for your last question.

I am a life member not assigned to any chapter in TN; still a member of the Kennebec Chapter in Maine but lived here two years now.

I admire all of you who are conservation minded..... but lacking organization, money, will-power and a dedication to see a mission come true it's pointless.

Been on the soap box here before and my "call to action" has never been answered by a single soul. Oh well.

Corbo 08-21-2012 09:29 PM

MORE DRY FLIES!

I think the Clinch needs more POOP in it so the hatches will be better and recommend dumping copious amounts of cow turd into the river at various places so that the bugs have more food.

It would be great if some biological yoyo could explain why the soho has fabulous hatches and the Clinch does not. More dry fly action would spur the local economy.

Flat Fly n 08-21-2012 10:09 PM

Corbo,
Leave your poop in the potty, or to Maine streams, they are already brown, but isn't that from tannic acid?. The water is warmer in the S. Holston than the Clinch. I have performed numerous randomized and often double blinded tests by falling in and I can say with a pValue of 0.05 that the Clich is statistically colder, therefore a less diverse hatch chart, as say the S. Holston, or Holston. Maybe it's all the crap from Tennessee Eastman in Kingsport....who knows! heck, all I need is one more species to waste my time tying 20 patterns to.

Lack of TWRA presence up and down the river is my concern. I HAVE NEVER BEEN CHECKED ON THAT RIVER AND I HAVE FISHED IT SINCE 1986! Now there I said it.....Heck you could probably use blasting caps on a Saturday above the weir and never get questioned.

It is the simple DeBakey rule of why TWRA does not patrol that river at least on a weekend!

waterwolf 08-21-2012 10:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Varmitcounty (Post 102694)

Just curious, how many of the people who have an issue with the quality of the river are active members of the Clinch TU chapter?

No offense meant to anyone who is a member of the Clinch Chapter, but seeing how I was one a handful of people who founded the chapter I will proudly say I disavowed them sometime ago.

They took radical views that were not in tune with normal conservation views and sided with the bait slinger crowd known as LUCRO who spear headed the movement to remove the quality zone. The straw which broke their back was when they again sided on the side of the bait slingers and protested the current slot limits.

They have stood in the way of progress on the river for a good while now, and the only thing TU about them is their name.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Corbo (Post 102702)
MORE DRY FLIES!

I think the Clinch needs more POOP in it so the hatches will be better and recommend dumping copious amounts of cow turd into the river at various places so that the bugs have more food.

It would be great if some biological yoyo could explain why the soho has fabulous hatches and the Clinch does not. More dry fly action would spur the local economy.

Corbo, again this isn't Maine and we have a whole load of issues which differ from north of the Mason Dixon line.

The biggest limiting factor to our benthic diversity is water temps. The Clinch averages such cold temps year round that it significantly reduces the bugs which can thrive.

John Thurman has done and knows more about the benthic population then anyone, has narrowed the list down to about 3 variances of sulphurs, 1 caddis, and the little black stones. Other then the midges, scuds, and sowbugs there is nothing that appears to be able to survive the temps.

We don't need anymore poop in the river, and any float down the river will reveal more than enough cattle utilizing the river on a hot summer day.

Corbo 08-22-2012 01:33 AM

Well thanks for your insight fellas on the POOP issue but you do need nutrient to make bugs and for all I know water temperature has much to do with what bugs can survive or thrive in the Clinch compared to the soho.

I might mention that the Kennebec and other rivers in MAINE are cold; it's a cold place and in the winter they get "anchor ice" which is where the river freezes right down into the river bottom and they still get bitchin hatches.

Same with out West; really cold water in the Rockies and awesome hatches.

Would sure like to know if data exists on average temperatures of TN's various tailwaters. Same with water chemistry and POOP/nutrient.

Seems to me that I shiver in the Soho but not in the Clinch.

One thing I know for certain is that despite few TWRA people patrolling, stripers etc there are certainly a lot of trout dumped into the Clinch... so I won't bitch at TWRA too much.

I will refrain from comment on the local TU Chapter as I know none of the folks involved or much about all that has gone on before now.

I will say it is a shame though that a bunch of folks cannot seem to group effectively together to be advocates of this awesome resource...

MadisonBoats 08-22-2012 06:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Flat Fly n (Post 102706)
Corbo,
...who knows! heck, all I need is one more species to waste my time tying 20 patterns to.

Is that not why fly tying is all about? :)
Quote:

Lack of TWRA presence up and down the river is my concern. I HAVE NEVER BEEN CHECKED ON THAT RIVER AND I HAVE FISHED IT SINCE 1986! Now there I said it.....Heck you could probably use blasting caps on a Saturday above the weir and never get questioned.

...

From my understanding; this will be changing soon with the addition of a new jet boat.

Quote:

Originally Posted by waterwolf (Post 102692)
......
One thing to note; New river, and any of the other streams that form in Scott county or the plateau where various forms of mining occur have zero impact on the Clinch. Those are entirely different watersheds and could not pose any threats to the Clinch. Currently there is no active mining in the Clinch watershed and the old mines have far surpassed an age of causing any issues.

I should have clarified my quote in my original post. Yes the watersheds are completely different systems. However; they lay in close proximity and are generally similar. For Instance; in my opinion-The Big South Fork is in bad shape with heavy metals and acidic runoff. I believe the mountains that drain in to the Clinch are currently being promoted and used as 4-wheeling trails. Also; there are numerous oil and gas wells in place. We need to put thoughtful consideration in how these are and will affect the lower lands in the future. Not that they cannot coexist peacefully with cooperation and monitoring.

Quote:

Originally Posted by waterwolf (Post 102707)
.....

John Thurman has done and knows more about the benthic population then anyone, has narrowed the list down to about 3 variances of sulphurs, 1 caddis, and the little black stones. Other then the midges, scuds, and sowbugs there is nothing that appears to be able to survive the temps.

...

Jim, I believe you may be looking at this issue at face value. I have put in thousands of hours over the past few years on the Clinch and found a great variety of benthic life. I am working on my own macro spreadsheet with pictures and fly patterns at the moment. One bug that I think many fly fishermen overlook is that of beetle larva.:biggrin: Also; there are the potentially hazardous aquatic worms in the Coal Creek Influx.:eek:

*I forgot to note that multiple selections can be selected in the poll.

waterwolf 08-22-2012 07:15 AM

I don't know that the ATV riding in Royal Blue, Brimstone, and Sundquist wukk have any effects on the Clinch. The watersheds are completely separate from the Clinch watershed. Big South Fork feeds the Cumberland.

The Clinch is fortunate because it has an extremely small watershed below the dam. There are only 3 tribs, and all of those have very small drainages as well.

On the benthic stuff, I don't spend much time looking for bugs and with John's work I generally yield to his opinion. He has been doing it for a very long time.


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