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Saving the Sicklefin Redhorse

leah kirk

Power companies, and government agencies came together recently to save the sicklefin redhorse. It was only recently discovered to be a distinct species. The fish a candidate for the endangered species list. These fish are found in only six Appalachian counties; Jackson, Macon, Swain, Clay and Cherokee counties, North Carolina, and in Towns County, Georgia.

The partners signing the voluntary agreement include the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, Duke Energy Carolinas, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the Fish and Wildlife Service.

Duke Energy will manage the company’s reservoir levels and dam releases to decrease negative impacts to sicklefin redhorse, including minimizing downstream impacts when reservoirs have to be drawn down or sediment and debris removed.

TVA will continue to implement commitments in TVA’s Reservoir Release Improvement Plan and River Operations Study that facilitate multiple uses of the reservoir system in a manner that ensures protection of all aquatic life and enhances their populations.

Technical support will be offered to local governments, the U.S.D.A. Natural Resources Conservation Service and citizen-based watershed groups to conserve and improve stream habitat.

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission will manage Needmore Gameland, a 4,400-acre state-managed site along the Little Tennessee River, to conserve sicklefin habitat.