Some days seem a lot more like fun than work! On Thursday, TNACI staff got to guide Alexandra Cousteau and her National Geographic Expedition Blue Planet Team on the Emory River. We spent the morning in Watts Bar Reservoir, catching fish and talking about the long-term impacts of the coal ash spill. We caught a few fish with infections while we were there, an indication that there is still environmental stress. TVA has finished Phase I of the clean-up—approximately 85% of the spilled ash was removed from the reservoir. The crew filmed interviews about our research on the spill and helped us catch and release the fish.
In the afternoon, we got to show off one of our most scenic parts of Tennessee. We headed upstream on the Emory River in the National Wild and Scenic River portion. We snorkeled for four hours there, saw over 30 species of fish, and found two darters that hadn't been documented that far upstream before! The only thing we couldn’t find was a hellbender… I guess we had to leave a reason for Alexandra to come back!
You can follow along with her expedition at: http://www.nationalgeographic.com/water. It is a web-based expedition and they post new photos and videos almost daily!