Tennessee Aquarium And Partners To Release 1,100 Lake Sturgeon

Elementary Students Will Help And Learn About New Sonic Tags

Tuesday, October 08, 2013 - by Thom Benson
- photo by Tennessee Aquarium

Biologists from the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute (TNACI), Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) and the University of Tennessee’s Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries will release 1,100 Lake Sturgeon on Wednesday at noon. This reintroduction will take place near Knoxville at the Seven Islands Wildlife Refuge. This location on the French Broad River has been identified as favorable habitat for this species, Acipenser fulvescens,  which is listed as endangered within Tennessee’s waters.

Students from a fifth grade class at Gap Creek Elementary in Knoxville are very excited to help with this release. They will learn how biologists will begin using sonic tags to track the movement of Lake Sturgeon during the next phase of monitoring, which will begin in November.

These students have been caring for a juvenile lake sturgeon since the beginning of the school year. Each day the Gap Creek students record data about the fish including feedings, water temperature, pH, ammonia levels, length and behavioral observations.

These hands-on classroom activities and assisting with this release increases their understanding of freshwater conservation. They also discover how the health of the river and human health are connected.

The Tennessee Aquarium and its partners have reintroduced more than 127,000 lake sturgeon to the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers since 1998. The goal of the long-term “Saving the Sturgeon” program is to restore a self-sustaining population of lake sturgeon in Tennessee. So far this effort has proven very successful with anglers reporting these fish downstream in Alabama and Kentucky. Biologists have also been encouraged by recent surveys to monitor the population between Knoxville and Chattanooga.

These impressive fish are true river giants. Some may grow to more than eight feet in length. Lake sturgeon have also been known to live nearly 150 years, feeding mainly on bottom dwelling crayfishes, mussels, aquatic insect larvae and small fishes.

The Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute (TNACI) is the conservation and research arm of the Tennessee Aquarium, a non-profit 501 (c)(3) institution. As leaders in freshwater conservation, TNACI’s mission is to conserve and restore native aquatic animals and their habitats within the richly bio-diverse Southeast United States.

The “Saving the Sturgeon” working partners are:

Conservation Fisheries, Inc.

Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute

Tennessee Tech University

Tennessee Valley Authority

Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency

University of Tennessee Knoxville

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

U.S. Geological Survey

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

World Wildlife Fund


Youth Hunter Injured In Hunting Accident In Grainger County

A 10-year-old boy from Knoxville was injured Monday evening after he accidentally shot himself in the foot while dove hunting at Buffalo Springs WMA in Grainger County. TWRA officers report that around 5:45 p.m., the young man accidentally fired his shotgun into his foot and was then air lifted to UT Medical Center in Knoxville with non-life-threatening injuries. Records ... (click for more)

Tennessee's 2014 Dove Season Opens Labor Day; Early Canada Goose Season Also Starts

Dove season opens on Labor Day, at noon (local time), which marks the annual start of one of Tennessee’s most long-standing outdoor sports traditions. Tennessee’s 2014 season is again be divided into three segments: Sept. 1 through Sept. 28; Oct. 11 through Nov. 2; and Nov. 29 through Jan. 6, 2015. Hunting times, other than opening day, are one-half hour before sunrise until ... (click for more)

Greg Beck Asking County Commission Chairmanship; Others Seeking Post Behind The Scenes

Long time County Commissioner Greg Beck is seeking the chairmanship of the Hamilton County Commission, he said. Several other commissioners are working behind the scenes to try to get the top commission post. The job opened up after the unexpected defeat of Commission Chairman Fred Skillern in the August primary election. Larry Henry, who has held the chairmanship several ... (click for more)

Helen Burns Sharp Asks Recovery Of Legal Fees In Successful Black Creek TIF Lawsuit

Helen Burns Sharp, citizen activist who sued to try to stop a $9 million Black Creek Tax Increment Financing (TIF) and won, is seeking to have her legal expenses paid by the city and the developers. Ms. Sharp said in a court filing that her legal bills to attorney John Konvalinka are $74,427 thus far. Chancellor Frank Brown ruled in favor of Ms. Sharp, saying the Sunshine ... (click for more)

Decimating The Chattanooga Public Library

Corinne Hill claims that the library is just undergoing a normal weeding process for eliminating books.  She has bragged that she's responsible for the elimination of over 100,000 books - with more to go. "Normal" weeding is not rampant throwing away.  Yes, books go to the Friends for their sale - where they get $2 for a $75 book and thousands wind up being recycled ... (click for more)

The Many Lessons I Learned From Helen McDonald Exum

Helen McDonald Exum was my friend and mentor. As I think of her passing I can only imagine the celebration that is happening in heaven as the news of her arrival is being told. I am sure that there is a party that not only has she organized but that there is not a detail that has been left to chance. I am sure that it is the grandest of events, for you see, she has been planing ... (click for more)