I wish I could say that this isn't happening everywhere, but it is. Despite
the sad findings, your insightful report is truly appreciated.
West Hyblos Creek Drainage
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, July 18, 2005 5:13 PM
Subject: NANFA-L-- Around Pigeon Mountain
>I went out yesterday exploring Pigeon Mountain in Georgia which straddles
> the Tennessee Divide. The Divide is interesting in studying maps as it is
> of fingers, ridges and valleys which seemingly jut into the two opposing
> drainage basins. The Divide is visually very irregular, meandering and can
> difficult to follow while studying a map. Long valleys, low parallel
> ridges and
> mountains seperate the two. Thin blue lines can almost connect but lead to
> other great rivers.
> Pigeon Mountain is a relativily high mountain and is almost all natural,
> unpopulated and managed by the goverment as a wildlife management area.
> springs, rock formations and deep forest make up the mountain's features.
> appears as an isolated protrusion from the surrounding land and offered a
> promise of discovery.
> I started on the western flank that is of the Tennesse valley drainage. I
> was hoping to find some clear mountain streams that may host Southern Red
> Bellied Dace or perhaps even Flame Chubbs. The headwaters that flow out of
> western cove eventually converge with several other valley streams to make
> Chickamauga creek. South Chick flows behind my house before meeting the
> Tennessee river a few miles downstream. The stretch behind my home is
> green and
> virtually opaque though, rarely,-in-times clarity has been between 3 or 4
> Sadly this exploration was disheartening as most of the creeks were either
> heavily silted, murky or lifeless. The water's orgins were on the mountain
> springs but once it flowed through a few fields and pastures its clarity
> quickly reduced. Many of the creeks, including springs were restricted to
> access. Properties were often posted, fenced and contained pastured cattle
> horse farms. Most observations were-in-bridges and road sides.
> I did find one unmarked access to a boardwalked nature trail. Though very
> little water flowed in the small stream it was canopied by a thick forest
> offered many clear pools i could rest in. I was bareskin and chilled but
> observed Snubbed and Rainbow Darters, White Suckers, Creek Chubs, Striped
> Redbreast Sunnies, Blacknose Dace, Stonerollers and even a Hogsucker for
> such a small stream. This would be a good stream to return to and really
> work a
> length of it while wearing a wetsuit. Once a stream becomes silted these
> small pools become filled denying me access as well as offering the native
> species the clear, clean gravel they need to reproduce and feed in.
> After disheartening attempts-in-several other sites I crossed the valley
> the far slopes and found a crystal clear stream yet was seemingly devoid
> life, as were several spring runs nearby with the exception of snails.
> This is
> a bewilderment to me. New construction and gated fencing prevented me
> going further upstream to gain other points of access.
> I recrossed the valley and drove around the northern slopes and checked
> another stream. It flowed along the highway and into the mobile drainage.
> clear and promising I easily found an access by an old bridge. I jumped in
> bareskin but the visibilty was only about 3 or 4 feet. However fish soon
> congregated about me and i quickly observed Rainbow, Mountain and Stripe
> Shiners. A
> pair of Studfish. Stonerollers and probably Coosa Darters. Hogsuckers.
> Rainbows were colored robustly though not electric. Several of the
> sported powder blue heads but the water's limited visibility prevented me
> from locating a spawning aggregation. I also observed just below a
> riffle a sleekish pair of Tricolors or Alabama Shiners but they were so
> and moving in and out of range i had difficulty in knowing exactly what
> were. Very sleek though which is not a character i normally see in those 2
> I edged the mountain's eastern base and checked a few spring runs and
> with minimal success. Again siltation and clarity restricted my efforts
> though the waters encountered were a bit clearer. I worked the map well
> all day
> hitting nearly every potential stream in both drainages. Posted signs and
> barbwire keep me from a few locations including a great spring which the
> city of
> Lafayette evidently uses for their water supply. Just downstream of this
> spring are a private lake and the several fish farm pools, all green, so
> i decided
> it was not worth further study and certainly unnatural to original
> downstream. In my travels i have found some stunning springs and try to
> each one that is marked in my gazeer. My hope is to find a wonderful
> one day and become a "keeper of the spring".
> I ended my day with a few other quick small creek snorkels and a last
> dip into the Little River which was several miles driving further south.
> sun was setting and the water turbid from a recent rain and crowds of
> Mexicans enjoying the sandy, silty beaches. I almost grabbed a motel room
> a return snorkel the next day in hopes of settled waters. The Little
> has offered some wonderful snorkeling in the past, but i was worn and
> from a full day and decided to return home for a nights rest and a
> work. I'm again saddened by what i see, and see often on these trips. It
> much effort to locate clear water that offers natural habitat and is
> by man's activities. Season, weather, rains and luck play a big part in if
> day spent searching will be productive in snorkeling. A return in another
> week or month could be better or could be worse. My time is limited. But
> certain it is plain to see the difference between natural sheltered
> water and disturbed ground pouring itself into a stream's substrate. Yes
> i think
> we are seeing the disappearance of many, many species of our native fish.
> They have nowhere to go but where they are and have been for generations
> ages. Then we clear the forests, til the ground and pave the earth. We
> all eat,
> build and drive. There are many of us.
> dang near straddling the Tennessee Divide
> / This is the discussion list of the North American Native Fishes
> / Association (NANFA). Comments made on this list do not necessarily
> / reflect the beliefs or goals of NANFA. For more information about NANFA,
> / visit http://www.nanfa.org Please make sure all posts to nanfa-l are
> / consistent with the guidelines as per
> / http://www.nanfa.org/guidelines.shtml To subscribe, unsubscribe, or get
> / help, visit the NANFA email list home page and archive at
> / http://www.nanfa.org/email.shtml
/ This is the discussion list of the North American Native Fishes
/ Association (NANFA). Comments made on this list do not necessarily
/ reflect the beliefs or goals of NANFA. For more information about NANFA,
/ visit http://www.nanfa.org Please make sure all posts to nanfa-l are
/ consistent with the guidelines as per
/ http://www.nanfa.org/guidelines.shtml To subscribe, unsubscribe, or get
/ help, visit the NANFA email list home page and archive at