Re: NANFA-- Swine Creek... the real swine
Tue, 3 Sep 2002 11:47:54 EDT

we were all cowboys once. what ive seen of horses and streams of late is that
they tie up their horses next to streams and let them stand in the water...
just like the farmer lets his cows do. this creates a "wallow" of silt ladden
water flowing downstream. the horses also leave a piles of manure behind. not
as bad as human waste and the toilet paper strewn paths i have to walk but it
is never pleasant to come mask to horse turds while snorkling.
i was pissed and frustrated that i went so far back into the forrest in hopes
of seeing virgin waters and then to encounter this massive disturbance on the
forest floor. hell... right in the middle of the flats w/ a once beautiful
stream flowing thru.
the silt is, in my opinion, what is wiping out the habitat for critters in
the streams i frequent. it is smothering the water mosses. covering the
gravel. smothering countless larva in the substrate. we know how fish
reproduce. many species have got to have clean gravel. if a fish only lives 2
or 3 years and their opportunity to reproduce is eliminated for a couple
seasons. there is only one result.
i made this trek trying to escape man's impact... and what i found is very

just over the state line into nc... at the headwaters of the tellico. this
has become a mecca for 4 wheelers, railed mud buggies, jeeps, all those mud
flinging machines. all the bare ground, mud, ruts, puddles, wash directly
into the tellico river. im told it is getting better but from my observations
it is getting far worse. i spoke with older campers along the banks and they
to describe the torrents of mud washing down now at every rain. they remember
when it was clear. ive been going there since i was in highschool. my buddies
and i often tubed down the river. always clear water. now 20 years later 9
out of 10 trips result in murky water. i believe it is mostly due to the
jeeps, trucks and 4 wheelers.
this is the home for tangerine darters. snail darters. saffron shiners.
hellbenders. many, many wonderful critters.
tn does not allow the 4 wheelers in the forest supposedly. yet nc does and
would have difficulty it controlling it because of the remoteness. no roads
from nc lead to this area.
a few weeks ago i stopped and discussed this w/ some rangers and foresters at
the office of the trout farm near the headwaters of the tellico... above the
bald river falls. they were sitting with their feet all propped up on the
desk. our tax dollars at work. very little response or concern was expressed
from them. are these the same guys concerned im going to catch a war paint
shiner for my aquarium? if every nanfa member got in the water it would never
come close to equating the damage of siltation sweeping down the mountain.
i often hear the negative talk of dams on the nanfa list. one thing ive
noticed in the recent years tho is that they trap and allow the silt to
settle. often below the dams water can be very clear and beautiful. i also
have heard how much of the capacity of dams has been reduced by the massive
buildups of sediment.
the hiwassee tailwaters are an example of that. water torrentially is
released daily and it sweeps the substrate clean of silt. yet plants that
cling to the rocks florish... thick pads of vibrant green mosses.
i have so much to learn. i dont ever want to falsly acuse and there is always
another perspective to a view. one thing for sure is every gravel road,
streamside campsite, horse trail, pig waller, shuffle kick netting, 4 wheeler
rut, streamside construction results in silt... and lots of it. these
appalachians are old and have stabilized in the eons they have stood. they
have been covered in mosses, forests, plants. we are disturbing them
/"Unless stated otherwise, comments made on this list do not necessarily
/ reflect the beliefs or goals of the North American Native Fishes
/ Association"
/ This is the discussion list of the North American Native Fishes Association
/ To subscribe, unsubscribe, or get help, send the word
/ subscribe, unsubscribe, or help in the body (not subject) of an email to
/ For a digest version, send the command to
/ instead.
/ For more information about NANFA, visit our web page,