Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Happy Darter Holidays from TNACI

T’was time for the holidays in the state of Tennessee
And everyone at TNACI was happy as can be.
We’re ready for some fun, some food, and maybe snow
And to feature some fishes we love and we know.

If you tend to celebrate the Christian way
And have your winter holiday on Christmas Day,
Then maybe you’ll find a new friend and ally
In a very special fish, Etheostoma hopkinsi.

Christmas Darter (E. hopkinsi) photo by Dustin Smith

And if Santa visits your house, tell your kids to be good
Cuz they’ll want some sweets, that’s well understood.
So show them an image of some aquatic fun
With E. osburni and E. neopterum.

Candy Darter (E. osburni) Photo by Cory Dunn 
Lollipop Darter (E. neopturum) illustration by Joe Tomelleri

But if you’ve been bad, you know what will be
In your stocking that day or under the tree.
There’ll be no sweets, no presents, nada,
Except maybe E. cinereum or Percina brevicauda.

Ashy Darter (E. cinereum) illustration by Joe Tomelleri.
Coal Darter (Percina brevicauda) illustration by Joe Tomelleri.

We hope that you laughed due to this little ditty.
I really can’t lie, fish humor makes us giddy.
Instead of singing carols to you, with flutes and a drum,
We will just say have a Happy Etheostoma brevirostrum.

Holiday Darter (E. brevirostrum) illustration by Joe Tomelleri.

Friday, December 7, 2012

What are 303(d) Streams?

Freshwater is the most important resource on this planet.  Without it, humans cannot live.  However, with development and industrialization has come the pollution of freshwater bodies on which we rely.  During the 20th century, the USA reached a breaking point with its water bodies.  Estimates state that about  65% of streams were polluted, but no one knew for sure.  Some rivers so polluted from industry and development that they caught fire

To bring water pollution under control, Congress passed the Clean Water Act (CWA) in 1972.  This October was the 40th Anniversary of its passing!  Under this act the EPA must regulate how much pollution industries discharge into rivers.  Under Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act, states must compile a list of water bodies that exceed federal limits of pollutants.  Any stream on this list is called a 303(d) stream.  Prior to the passing of the CWA, there was no way for the public to know how many water bodies were impaired in their communities or which streams were unsafe.  Now, agencies must monitor pollutants in rivers and update the list of 303(d) streams every few years. Once a stream or river is on this list, it is considered a priority for water quality improvement.  This can be accomplished by strict permitting and enforcement on industry, or preventative efforts to reduce runoff.

In Tennessee, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) is the agency that is responsible for listing 303(d) streams.  For an updated list of impaired streams in Tennessee, click the link below.  Here in Hamilton County there are about 30 impaired streams covering approximately 200 miles.