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


Blitz At Black Rock Mountain Will Boost Understanding Of Bats

The night life around Black Rock Mountain State Park will keep researchers from across the state busy Sept. 4-7. It is all part of the Georgia Bat Working Group’s first Bat Blitz. The event based at the park in northeast Georgia’s Rabun County is focused on better understanding the area’s bat communities. But there is an even bigger picture. Organizer Trina Morris ... (click for more)

Drones Banned From Appalachian Trail

The National Park Service has developed an interim policy prohibiting the use of unmanned aircraft on NPS managed lands of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. This is a new park use that could affect park resources, staff, and visitors in ways that the National Park Service has yet to identify, analyze and examine. It is the National Park Service policy to not allow a new park ... (click for more)

Jury Finds In Favor Of Texas Sheriff In Suit Brought By Chattanooga Photographer

A Federal Court jury on Friday found in favor of a Texas sheriff and his chief deputy who had been sued by a Chattanooga photographer. The jury in the courtroom of Judge Curtis Collier awarded no damages to Donna Johnson. In his closing argument after a two-week civil trial, attorney John Anderson said, "This is about the Fourth Amendment." Attorney Anderson represented Ms. ... (click for more)

Justin Wilkins Selected As Deputy Chief Of Staff For Mayor Berke

Native Chattanoogan Justin Wilkins will serve as Mayor Andy Berke's deputy chief of staff, it was announced Friday. Mr. Wilkins has spent the last several years serving as the Tennessee state director for multiple advocacy and electoral organizations, including Organizing for America and Organizing for Action. Prior to that, he worked as project manager at Profit Plans LLC ... (click for more)

Mackey Should Be Thankful For The State Troopers On Highway 153

This is in response to a statement made by Warren Mackey at the commission meeting.  His question was to the mayor regarding the state troopers writing tickets on Highway 153, saying they were on a rampage.   It is apparent that Mr. Mackey doesn’t travel this highway.  His only concern was that the ticket money was going into state funds and not into county funds. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Must-Read For Parents

If you have a child or if you love one, what you are about to read could be one of the most important lessons in your life. I have a great friend in Dallas – Sandy Pohfal – who regularly shares stories with me that are moving, inspirational or important. This is all three. This story was written by a celebrated author, Christie Craig. She has written hundreds of articles for ... (click for more)