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TN River Rescue 2017


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#1 Casper

Casper
  • NANFA Fellow
  • Chattanooga, TN alongside South Chickamauga Creek, just upstream of the mighty Tennessee River.

Posted 13 September 2017 - 01:41 PM

For the last several years i have been involved with the cleanup of the Tennessee River and its various tribs.  This year is the 29th overall for this organization's efforts, first created by earth and water lovers in that other century.  I first met the group as i was making signs and banners for them.

 

There are about 25 sites to pick from and though three are on South Chickamauga Creek near my home, last year i worked the other side of the Tennessee River on North Chickamauga Creek.

The cleanup will occur on Saturday, October the 7th and run from 9 am til 1 pm.  Only 4 hours to get covered in muck and mud.  But we can do as we wish, maybe best to return Sunday for clearer water weather permitting.

Last year on the following day l i snorkeled the fairly clear water and found lots of partially buried trash, bottles and relics.  It would be fun to have a snorkel team slowly working our way upstream and putting the trash in mesh bags we are dragging behind us.

 

Are there any willing Snorkeling Trash Mongers amongst us?

 

I will treat everyone to a BBQ dinner and a place to stay overnight Saturday.  It should be a good bit of fun.

 

14-TRR-NCC-Casper.JPG

 

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19-TeaTime.JPG


Casper Cox
Chattanooga, near the TN Divide on BlueFishRidge overlooking South Chickamauga Creek.

#2 Casper

Casper
  • NANFA Fellow
  • Chattanooga, TN alongside South Chickamauga Creek, just upstream of the mighty Tennessee River.

Posted 25 September 2017 - 11:59 AM

I spent about 4 hours snorkeling upstream of the site Saturday.  A stunning encounter with a great dinosaur.  The water was clear and still cool comfortable in these 80 degree days.  I bareskinned it at 2 sites and yes there is still a lot of trash.

 

20-Cans.JPG

 

Plenty to collect.  Old and new, some relics too.

 

20-Greenside.JPG

 

Found hiding under a flat stone at a spring fissure.

 

20-LogPair.JPG

 

Lots of diversity and Loggies were common working the clean cobble.

 

20-HorseShoe.JPG

 

2 modes of transportation represented.

 

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The Beast!

 

2 weeks away. I have extended plans in the works for the volunteers.  Trading BBQ for Crawfish Etouffee and Gumbo.

 

 

Casper


Casper Cox
Chattanooga, near the TN Divide on BlueFishRidge overlooking South Chickamauga Creek.

#3 mattknepley

mattknepley
  • NANFA Member
  • Smack-dab between the Savannah and the Saluda.

Posted 26 September 2017 - 04:07 PM

Fish drink a lot of soda and beer for creatures that live in water. Have no idea what they were using the tire and horseshoe for. Seahorses, maybe?
Matt Knepley
"No thanks, a third of a gopher would merely arouse my appetite..."

#4 Casper

Casper
  • NANFA Fellow
  • Chattanooga, TN alongside South Chickamauga Creek, just upstream of the mighty Tennessee River.

Posted 29 September 2017 - 10:28 AM

1 week away.

Forecast is in the 80's every day and very little chance of rain.

Thus ideal conditions for a clear water snorkeling clean up of the beautiful, winding North Chickamauga Creek.

Making it even better.

Picked up a big sack of mesh bags today.

Let's fill them up.


Casper Cox
Chattanooga, near the TN Divide on BlueFishRidge overlooking South Chickamauga Creek.

#5 littlen

littlen
  • NANFA Member
  • Washington, D.C.

Posted 29 September 2017 - 12:10 PM

Are they/you still producing annual shirts for the event?  I remember a particularly awesome one containing a certain darter species that you designed a handful of years back.... :D


Nick L.

#6 Casper

Casper
  • NANFA Fellow
  • Chattanooga, TN alongside South Chickamauga Creek, just upstream of the mighty Tennessee River.

Posted 29 September 2017 - 02:17 PM

TRR-2012-Redline.jpg

 

Not sure yet what this year's design is.  Every volunteer will get one.  Last year i did a Longear Sunfish but they said it had too many colors!

 


Casper Cox
Chattanooga, near the TN Divide on BlueFishRidge overlooking South Chickamauga Creek.

#7 littlen

littlen
  • NANFA Member
  • Washington, D.C.

Posted 29 September 2017 - 06:43 PM

I still rock that shirt! Great design hombre!
Nick L.

#8 Casper

Casper
  • NANFA Fellow
  • Chattanooga, TN alongside South Chickamauga Creek, just upstream of the mighty Tennessee River.

Posted 02 October 2017 - 10:20 AM

I took a quick dip Sunday at another mill site on North Chickamauga Creek.  The water was nice, about 6 to 10' clear and pretty with plants and sandy cobbled runs populated with 3 species of Darters.  But i could only last an hour before the shivering overtook me.  I should have worn my wetsuit but the week before i had been comfortable.  I suspect the cooler nights are bringing the water temp down.  Fall is on its way.

 

 

10-Snub.JPG

 

Lots of Snubs, gaining a bit of color after the warm months of Summer.  Male Snubs always have a bit of red, blue and green.  They like slower water, flowing pools.

 

 

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Amongst them were several large Speckleds, now referred to as Bluesides.  They blend in perfectly with their preferred habitat, sandy areas.

I turned a plank over and found a seemingly out of place Redline.  They prefer swifter runs in my experience.  Later i saw a probable Banded among the prolific plants.

 

 

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I counted 7 in this cluster of resting Logperch.  They were perhaps the most common Darter observed at this site, probably 200 yards i worked before the cold overcame me.

 

 

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Lots of Millfoil / Coontail.  Most of the plant's lengths were covered in fine silt but the tips were lush green.  The vertical leafy plant i believe is Pond Weed.  It makes pointy football shaped leaflets that float flat on the surface.  I also found a cluster of Egeria Densa, Brazilian Pond Weed.  Water mosses and thin leafed Val too.  It was nice to see lush growths of plants and the clean cobble.

 

 

10-Shad.JPG

 

A nice surprise was a trio of Yellow Perch, a big Shad and Redeared Shellcracker all seen in this soft photo along with a tire of which there are plenty to remove from this dumping site.  It sure is easier to roll them in a creek than pull them sand mired out and up a steep bank.  I have a plan though.

Also observed were lots of River Chubs, just downstream i have found the biggest Chub mound ever.  Warpaints.  Other Sunfish and Bass.  This is a multi specie site when the water flows clear enough to see.

 

 

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Unique rock formation with a scoured opening.

 

 

Though there is a lot of trash here we will focus on another site more accessible and in the public view.  The weather looks good, no rain and 80 temps this week.  But i will be wearing a wetsuit for sure.


Edited by Casper, 02 October 2017 - 10:30 AM.

Casper Cox
Chattanooga, near the TN Divide on BlueFishRidge overlooking South Chickamauga Creek.

#9 Casper

Casper
  • NANFA Fellow
  • Chattanooga, TN alongside South Chickamauga Creek, just upstream of the mighty Tennessee River.

Posted 05 October 2017 - 10:06 AM

Yesterday i returned to the site wearing my 5 mil wetsuit.  Much more comfort!  I lasted 4 hours from 11 to 3, the same time we plan to be in the water Saturday.  Good sunlight overhead, blue skies.  I ended up collecting trash and piling it up in advance so the plan is to gather up more upstream and load the piles at the end of the session.

Lots of fish seen.  At one point i counted upwards of 40 Logperch in a long, steep cobbled run.  They were all giving me the eye.  An unusual congregation but this area is certainly a favored Logperch habitat though there are vegetated silt mounds to the left and right.

Yellow Perch, Blueside Darters, Snubs were also common sights but instead of fish watching i became somewhat obsessed with finding and piling trash and relics.  Lots of Pepsi bottles and old glass jars that i have not seen in years since plastics became the standard.  I though Chattanooga was Coca-Cola and Double Cola waters.  

Perfect weather predicted, visibility at about 10' with the current drought conditions, but the water is cooling down with the fine sleeping open window nights.

 

Great day expected and to be finished with Gumbo or Crayfish Etouffee shared with the FWI guys.

 

 

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Like stained glass as the leaves fall.

 

 

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One of the trash piles.

 

 

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Found hiding, freshly molted.

 

 

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A nice group of Loggies that came to investigate my trash pilings.

 

 

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The pile awaits.

 

Tennessee River Rescue!

 

 

 

 

 

 


Casper Cox
Chattanooga, near the TN Divide on BlueFishRidge overlooking South Chickamauga Creek.

#10 Casper

Casper
  • NANFA Fellow
  • Chattanooga, TN alongside South Chickamauga Creek, just upstream of the mighty Tennessee River.

Posted 08 October 2017 - 12:13 PM

20-TrashSigns.JPG


Casper Cox
Chattanooga, near the TN Divide on BlueFishRidge overlooking South Chickamauga Creek.

#11 Matt DeLaVega

Matt DeLaVega
  • Board of Directors
  • Ohio

Posted 08 October 2017 - 07:03 PM

Nice job and nice photos.Great to see clean up's like these.

 

On a side note. Learned something new reading through the last couple posts. Casper is in fact a mortal. It had always seemed that he was impervious to cold water, but I believe I read the word "shivering". Really though, some of you avid snorkelers are simply not wimps or develop an ability to tolerate what seems intolerable. What you all go through to get these underwater photos makes them that much more impressive. 


The member formerly known as Skipjack


#12 Casper

Casper
  • NANFA Fellow
  • Chattanooga, TN alongside South Chickamauga Creek, just upstream of the mighty Tennessee River.

Posted 13 October 2017 - 10:32 AM

Jeremy sent me a few pictures...

 

FWI-LittleTykes.jpg

 

Little Tykes hung in the jam.  I had seen it for 2 or 3 years.  I figured a chainsaw was needed but Dave pulled it free.  Full of fishy muck and still had the keys.  Bryce was hoping to drive it to the dumpster site but it would not crank.

 

 

FWI-CasperBottles.jpg

 

Lots of old relic bottles.  Purex Bleach use to come in these brown glass bottles before plastics were in use.  I wish i had saved a few but sorting through glass shards was not a reasonable option once bagged.

 

 

FWI-Pile.jpg

 

This was the pile Bryce and i gathered, 2 men, a few hours.  The tires are still in the creek but more muscle needed than i can muster.

 

 

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Afterwards we had a fine Cajun dinner courtesy of Dave's recent find of a gallon jar of Tellico River Coinage.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Casper Cox
Chattanooga, near the TN Divide on BlueFishRidge overlooking South Chickamauga Creek.

#13 Irate Mormon

Irate Mormon
  • NANFA Member
  • Crooked Creek, Mississippi

Posted 14 October 2017 - 11:07 AM

Figures food would be involved.


-The member currently known as Irate Mormon


#14 Isaac Szabo

Isaac Szabo
  • NANFA Member
  • The Ozarks

Posted 08 November 2017 - 04:44 PM

Nice work guys!



#15 Casper

Casper
  • NANFA Fellow
  • Chattanooga, TN alongside South Chickamauga Creek, just upstream of the mighty Tennessee River.

Posted 20 August 2018 - 06:01 PM

2018 Tennessee River Rescue is drawing near.  This year is the 30th and will occur on October the 6th, a Saturday.  We were quite lucky in 2017 as the creek was clear and still comfortable in our wetsuits.  I would like to plan to do so again weather permitting but i am doubtful Bryce can mend and attend but the FWI boys are talking about a return for more film work.

I need help.  Connie and daughter Cyan helped pull the loaded bags to the street but i need one or two fellow snorkelers working the creek bottom to assist in gathering all the trash.  I do not plan on digging out and hoisting tires up the steep banks.  Tho unsightly, they are inert and would require difficult physical labor beyond comfort.

Hard to predict the weather and clarity.  This year we have had a lot of rain and storms but i have slide several trips into North Chick while dodging the worse conditions.  We are headed into another dry stretch and i will be monitoring conditions as we near the 6th.

On a May snorkel this year i found a full bag we had missed last year and gathered a few more piles as lots of new debris has been exposed since last year's event.  I hope to save or stash some of the more relic finds.

If any of your snorkeling regional fishheads wish to participate please start considering Saturday October 6.

J Gumbos will be the tempting reward and i plan to write an article for American Currents as requested from last year. 


Edited by Casper, 20 August 2018 - 06:05 PM.

Casper Cox
Chattanooga, near the TN Divide on BlueFishRidge overlooking South Chickamauga Creek.

#16 Casper

Casper
  • NANFA Fellow
  • Chattanooga, TN alongside South Chickamauga Creek, just upstream of the mighty Tennessee River.

Posted 22 August 2018 - 08:31 AM

May 12th 2018
 
I returned to the site where we had gathered and collected trash the year before.  The water was clear, the substrate generally clean and lush with patches of varied vegetation.  I eventually drifted down to the old mill site passing several old River Chub mounds active with spawning Striped Shiners.  No Chubs were seen though the mounds appeared fresh and the cobble quite clean.  I worked my way through several log jams that make for a varied habitat, creating scours and directed flows...
 
 
21-Stripes.JPG
 
Striped Shiners dominating the old Chub Mound.  Probably 2 dozen males were furiously working this gnarly cobbled mound.  But where were the architects?
 
 
22-StripesSpawn.JPG
 
A spawning pair, profile of a nice male forefront.  Even plain ol Striped Shiners have their glory days.
 
 
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I have heard that Stripenecked Musk Turtles are arboreal which i laughed at.  This is the first ever i recall sunning itself.  Little red critters were crawling on its face.  Might be a good way to get leeches to fall off too.
 
 
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Some of the coontail which grew lush occilating in wide flowing expanses, anchored by sand deposits.
 
 
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Appears to be a dining site for raccoons or perhaps birds?  Muskrat?
 
 
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I drifted downstream to the bridge as a fellow crossed over.  I am not a common sight to see.  Dead man floating.
 
 
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Beyond the bridge and to the right are remnants of an old mill, the 2 pylons and rusting gear works are about all that remain.
 
 
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Just a bit further downstream i came across Bluesides in the clear sandy substrate, their favored habitat.  They often blend in and remain unseen until they dart forward.  Not today as the males were proud of themselves displaying openly in the wide sandy flats.  A third male male is just beyond this pair, all their dorsals raised.
 
 
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Working my way back upstream and just short of the bridge i watched this pretty Rainbow work a clean gravel run.  He could not find a female and neither could i.
 
 
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There was a nice Redline though, off in the faster current.
 
 
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And a Crawdaddy i dislodged.
 
 
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Lots of Logperch which require plenty of clean cobble to flip a feed.  I am happy to see so many in this urban stream.  They are an adaptive fish as long as there is rocks to flip
 
 
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TN Snubby, always common locally and often well colored, especially bright in the Spring spawning activities.  Mating pairs will travel about seemingly finding random but acceptable spots to deposit and fertilize eggs, the males often riding piggy back.
 
 
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A big ol Greenside made an appearance from out of the shadows.  Nocturnal snail eaters.
 
 
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I caught this cute little slider.
 
 
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The day concluded with a bonus sighting of a Fantail Darter.  I do not see them but rarely.  Bandeds are a possibility too, maybe Duskys and one day i hope to find a Snail Darter in this north creek.
 
 
37-View.JPG
 
I spent several comfortable hours in the creek until the chill and shadows added up to enough is enough.  Changing into dry clothes and dinner sound about right so out i climbed up out of the creek bottom.  The road runs along the left, a steep bank to hoist trash up to the narrow shoulder.  Last year we worked out a system which was reasonally productive but awkward.  However on the right side is TWRA gated property and i have been trying to gain access there which would be lower, easier and safer.
This is a great urban site to explore with a good amount of diversity.  Let's hope for cool, clear comfort come October 6.
 
 
 

Casper Cox
Chattanooga, near the TN Divide on BlueFishRidge overlooking South Chickamauga Creek.

#17 DanielFolds

DanielFolds
  • NANFA Member
  • Georgia, Chattahoochee Drainage

Posted 22 August 2018 - 04:49 PM

Nice Chickamauga crayfish!



#18 littlen

littlen
  • NANFA Member
  • Washington, D.C.

Posted 23 August 2018 - 07:25 AM

Another great report.  Thank you, Casper.  (STILL rocking my TNRR shirt proudly).


Nick L.

#19 Casper

Casper
  • NANFA Fellow
  • Chattanooga, TN alongside South Chickamauga Creek, just upstream of the mighty Tennessee River.

Posted 23 August 2018 - 06:00 PM

There is a local environmentalist that sez Chickamauga Crayfish every time he sees a crayfish.  I honestly do not know but i have seen several different types including one with long twisted pincers that only come out just as it gets shadowed dark, easing out of some craggy rock formations.  This is behind my house where conditions are always very low visibility and snorkel opportunities are few.

 

I'm working on the shirt design for this year, the 30th.  800 shirts, 3 colors on the front.  Every volunteer gets a shirt.

 

Here is a close up of Mr. Turtle.  I'm unsure of his identity but saw a field guide years ago that used the underside marking of young turtles as an identification character.

 

I hope the weather is good and we can get in again...

 

 

38-SliderFace.JPG


Casper Cox
Chattanooga, near the TN Divide on BlueFishRidge overlooking South Chickamauga Creek.

#20 trygon

trygon
  • NANFA Member
  • Knoxville, Tennessee

Posted 23 August 2018 - 07:10 PM

North Chickamauga Creek is really a neat place to snorkel for a suburban creek, I used to snorkel and fish in it when I was in high school. Last year was the first time I'd been in it in a very long time and I expected it to be totally wrecked, it wasn't, even though at this reach of the creek a road passes very close by and a lot of trash gets thrown in, it still feels like a remote waterway as it is nestled in a canopied corridor as it winds through woods, fields and backyards.  As you can see by Casper's images it is very diverse with a nice cross section of Tennessee fishes ranging from small snubnose darters to gar, which used to aggregate in a cerain pool in the spring.  We took a lot of trash out last year, see post #12, and there is probably a lot to take out again this year.  I'm hoping to be there, but we'll need more help so if anyone is available please contact Casper or myself and we'll set up a time and place to meet.  You might even find a mudpuppy like we did last year.  Mr. Turtle looks like a species of map turtle to me but I can't make it upstairs to the ID books.


Bryce Gibson
There are sharks in every ocean...except Billy Ocean.



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