Tennessee Aquarium And Partners To Release 1,100 Lake Sturgeon

Elementary Students Will Help And Learn About New Sonic Tags

Tuesday, October 8, 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


Trail Repair Work Beginning On Red Trail In Chickamauga Battlefield

The National Park Service is advising the beginning of repair work on a 1.09 mile section of the Red Trail located in the northwest corner of the Chickamauga Battlefield. This section is part of the equestrian trail that intersects the yellow trail. The park is utilizing an agreement with the Southeast Conservation Corp to have a student work crew repair the trail ... (click for more)

Legendary Angler Bill Dance To Help Feed Homeless Donated Venison At Chattanooga Community Kitchen

Legendary angler and Tennessee native, Bill Dance, is joining a program called Hunt.Fish.Feed, that feeds those less fortunate across the country venison donated by local sportsmen and women.    Mr. Dance will be at the Community Kitchen from  11 a.m.–1:30 p.m. on   Friday, July 8,  to help serve guests.  Outdoor Sportsman Group Networks ... (click for more)

Spiegel Says Walker County Could Make Payments On $8,705,000 Hutcheson Debt; James Says Letter is Heavy-Handed

Erlanger Health System CEO Kevin Spiegel has written Walker County Commissioner Bebe Heiskell to say that Erlanger would consider taking payments on the $8,705,000 Hutcheson debt. Stuart James, special counsel for Walker County, called the overture "heavy-handed." Walker County earlier offered a $1.3 million "global settlement" that was rejected by Erlanger. Catoosa County ... (click for more)

Customer At East Ridge Gas Station Shoots And Kills Robber; He Had Been Trying To Take Female Clerk With Him

East Ridge Police said a customer at an East Ridge gas station early Thursday morning shot a robber, who was then found by police lying outside the station and was arrested.  The robber has died.  His name is being withheld pending the notification of next of kin. At 1:47 a.m., East Ridge Police responded to 4011 Ringgold Road, the Marathon Service Station, on ... (click for more)

A Disturbing Trend At Exit 11 - And Response (6)

So, am I the first to notice a trend?   How many wrecks does exit 11 need before anyone asks "whats up with that?"  I have lost count of the wrecks that continue to happen, even after last year's awful loss of life (which I believe 51 percent of the blame should fall on the THP officer on duty).  The problem with this section of interstate are sight lines ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Garden This July

I can never remember a day in July when my garden, my lawn, my dogwood tree, and my ferns are all wilting for lack of rain. Right now we are more than eight inches under our average rainfall for the first six months and, on this wonderful weekend, those who love firecrackers are urged to keep a pail of water in case a spark could cause a fire. On the other hand, every July 4 th ... (click for more)