By Barbara Musumarra
Little Stoney Creek in the Cherokee National Forest is once again teeming with Southern Appalachian brook trout. This fall, the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute released 1,100 of the fish into their native waters.
Researchers will track the trout’s growth and survival rate through data collected by a coded wire tag that was injected into each fish prior to release.The U.S. Forest Service and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency partnered to select the site and prepare the stream for the brook trout release.
Although historically abundant in southern Appalachia, brook trout populations drastically declined during the twentieth century when habitats were damaged by problems such as poor logging practices, acid rain and the introduction of non-native trout.