Little Tumbling Creek Stocked Thanks to Partnership

Little Tumbling Creek Stocked Thanks to Partnership

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Brook trout return 2 VA creek 1st time in +2 decades thnx partly to #AEP Foundation visit: @AEPNews

Multimedia from this Release

Friday, June 1, 2012 - 11:00am

CONTENT: Multimedia with summary

When the tiny brook trout wiggled out of Jim Cook’s hand in mid-May and into the chilly waters of Little Tumbling Creek in Smyth County, Va., it was the first time in more than 22 years that trout had been in the stream.

Brook Trout, Virginia’s state fish and the only native trout species for the region, existed in the stream until the 1980s and early 1990s. That’s when years of man-made and naturally occurring acid deposition and the lack of natural buffers in the stream upset the chemistry to the extent that it no longer supported the fish or the aquatic insects they needed to survive.   Now with help from Appalachian Power, the AEP Foundation, Trout Unlimited and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF), they are positioned to make a comeback.

“The Little Tumbling Creek project really came to fruition this past winter when our crews built a new access road to the Broadford-Richlands 138 kV line that crosses the Clinch Wildlife Management Area,” said Cook, director transmission region operations. “We had a section of the line that was inaccessible and it happened to be near the remote headwaters of Little Tumbling Creek. We cut in an access road to the power line and a spur to the headwaters of the creek.  Everyone benefitted.”

With access to the headwaters, the VDGF deployed a proven acid-mitigation tactic. They deposited nearly 40 tons of limestone sand in the stream in January as an acid buffer and they almost immediately began to see an improvement.  In May the stream was suitable for stocking 4,000 sterile Northern Appalachian strain of brook trout. Watch the attached video to view the trout being placed into their native habitat.
“What makes the liming of Little Tumbling very exciting,” says Bill Kittrell, VDGIF Aquatic Resources Manager for southwest Virginia, “is the longer-term opportunity to restore the Southern Appalachian strain of brook trout to its native habitat.” 

“The relationship with the company and the agencies grew out of a larger, four-year AEP Foundation Trout Unlimited grant that has funded more than 50 Trout-In-The-Classroom projects and several conservation projects across the Appalachian Power service territory,” said John Ross, Trout Unlimited Virginia Council chair. “Funding from the AEP Foundation will be used for long-term water quality monitoring on Little Tumbling Creek.  We believe the creek will serve as a model providing lessons that will lead to the restoration of other southern brook trout streams in the region.”

AEP - American Electric Power
AEP ranks among the nation's largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 38,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S.  AEP also owns the nation's largest electricity transmission system, a nearly 39,000-mile network that includes more 765 kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined.

AEP's utility units operate as AEP Ohio, AEP Texas, Appalachian Power (in Virginia, West Virginia), AEP Appalachian Power (in Tennessee), Indiana Michigan Power, Kentucky Power, Public Service of Oklahoma, and Southwestern Electric Power Company (in Arkansas, Louisiana and east Texas).