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GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK STREAMS

     The Great Smoky Mountains National Park sports approximately 2,115 miles or streams within in boundaries, and one of the last trout habitats in the Eastern United States.

     From most of their beginnings from springs high along the Appalachian trail,  advance down the mountainsides gaining size and volume as they merge with other small tributaries, changing from waterfalls and cascades till they reach more gradual descents allowing them to transform into deeper pools, small rivers, and eventually into our lakes.  

     Along this journey, the waters offer different composition favoring different aquatic species along its way.  Just as streams above approximately 3,000 feet favor native brook trout, lower elevations first show mixes of native brownies along with non-native rainbow trout, eventually becoming larger and warmer, favoring rock bass, smallmouth bass, minnows, suckers, shiners and darters, totaling 53+ fish species.

     Brook trout are the only native salmonid in the park. At the turn of the century, the brook trout lost about 75% of its range in the park due to logging along with the introduction of the non native rainbow trout.

     Since 1987 the park has had an active brook trout restoration program. The objective is to restore native brook trout populations to streams with natural barriers like waterfalls that prevent invasion of non-native trout species. The program has restored nine streams, and is in progress of restoring eight additional streams at mid to low elevations . The restoration of the brook trout have restored 11.1 miles of stream or 11% of the 97.5 miles of stream occupied by brook trout.

     Acidity in streams have increased 5 times in high elevation streams in the last 20 years due to pollution of combustion of fossil fuels. This data adds urgency to the need to restore brook trout to streams at lower elevations with more stable water chemistry.

     The organizations of American Fisheries Society, Trout Unlimited, Tennessee Brookies, artist Jim Gray, Friends of the Great Smoky Mountains, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation of which these are just a few that have joined hand in hand with the National Park Service to raise money for the restoration effort.

 
John 11:31 The Jews then which were with her in the house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up hastily and went out, followed her, saying, She goeth unto the grave to weep there.
 
 

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