Trout Unlimited Plate Sales Fuel Brook Trout Restoration
| November 14, 2017

Despite their undeniable beauty, the Rainbow Trout and Brown Trout found in Southeastern streams are really just gilded aquatic invaders. Rainbows are native to waterways west of the Rockies, and Browns arrived in the late 19th century. Since their introduction to the Eastern U.S these trout have often out-competed Brook Trout. Consequently, the modern Southern Appalachian Brook Trout only occupies a fraction — less than 15 percent — of its historical range in Tennessee.

Through the sale of special TU license plates the TU Appalachian Chapter has supported efforts by the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute to better understand and restore the Southern Appalachian Brook Trout to its native range.

Recently, Steve Fry, the chapter's president, presented a check for $7,500 to Aquarium Vice President of Conservation Science and Education Dr. Anna George. This grant is TU's third contribution to the Institute's ongoing research into and propagation of these fish.

"The biologists here are the experts," Fry says. "They ensure these fish have the correct food, water conditions and temperatures. That's their thing. We know they'll do it right."

The TU grant will be used to fund the rearing of Southern Appalachian Brook Trout at the Institute's new freshwater science facility. The fish raised through this program will be released into Stoney Creek, a waterway about 15 miles northeast of Johnson City, Tennessee.

Several years ago, scientists at the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute pioneered techniques to rear Southern Appalachian Brook Trout in a recirculating system. Using a closed system indoors has several advantages over outdoor flow-through systems, especially when it comes to harsh weather conditions, Fry says.

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