2022 Projects and Activities
Here is a list of some of the current projects that we are working on as a chapter this year.
Tailwater Temperature Monitors (2022)
Over the past year, we have heard several concerns about the lower water flows on the South Holston River causing warmer water on the lower stretches of the river. On Tuesday May 24th, OMTU installed temperature monitors on the upper, middle, and lower portions of the South Holston River. These temperature monitors will give us valuable information regarding the lower water flows on the South Holston River. We also have four (4) temperature monitors to install on the Watauga River. This will be installed in late July 2022. We plan to collect the data once per month and we will post the results on our website once the data is collected.
Bill Beazell Boat Ramp (2022)
OMTU donated $4000 to purchase materials for the construction of the Lovers Lane Boat Ramp. The old boat ramp made it difficult to put your boat in and and out of the water. This project was a joint effort between TWRA, TVA, City of Elizabethton, and Carter County. Because of our donation we were given naming rights to the ramp and decided to name it after Bill Beazell.
Trash Trout Installations (2022)
Many thanks to the 14 volunteers from Ashville Green Works, The Watauga Riverkeepers, The Overmountain Chapter of Trout Unlimited, and the Roan Mountain Recreation Foundation who helped install Trash Trouts on the Doe River in Roan Mountain and on Buffalo Creek in Elizabethton on Thursday 3/31. An information panel was also installed in Roan Mountain telling about the Trash Trout and about the legacy of Todd Burleson. These two devices will collect plastic that is floating in the streams. The Watauga Riverkeepers will empty the traps on a routine basis. This is just one more way to help clean up our local streams and rivers.
Brook Trout Habitat Improvement (2021-22)
The "Habitat improvement for native and wild trout in northeast Tennessee" seeks to improve trout habitat through the addition of woody material in areas where that habitat component is lacking. Traditionally, trout streams in this region would have contained large tree trunks and limbs in them, creating deep pools and pockets where trout could escape. The woody material also controlled the sediment flow and helped ensure gravel spawning habitat occurred throughout the stream. Historic logging practices have significantly reduced the amount of wood found in high-elevation streams.
Community Science in NE Tenn (2020-22)
Last year we received a grant from the Tennessee Trout Unlimited (TU) Chapter Grants Program (TCGP). Part of this project was to conduct Stream Habitat Assessments on 40 local streams. Jeff Wright, SE Project Coordinator from TU conducted some training to show participants what needed to be done in the field. From there small groups of the trainees went out to conduct the surveys on the streams. These surveys will be feed to the USFS to help determine which streams in our area could us additional habitat forming wood debris. Based on the findings of our surveys, OMTU will work with USFS resources to add additional woody debris to the streams.
Todd Burleson Memorial Cleanup
Every year, OMTU teams up with the Burleson Family and the residents of the Roan Mountain area to clean up the Doe River and it's tributaries. This is a great event, not only do we clean up a lot of trash along the streams, but the Burleson Family also provides breakfast and lunch for all of the participants.
Women's Fly Fishing Clinic
Each year we hold our annual Women's Fly Fishing Clinic. Ten women from around the area attend the one day clinic. In the classroom the women learn about knot tying, casting, entomology, and how to land fish. They then get out on the Watauga River to test their newly learned skills. The women are then paired up with a mentor so that they have a fishing partner over the next year
Watauga Bluffs Trail Maintenance
Several times a year our chapter meets at the Watauga Bluffs and performs routine maintenance on the trail. This consists of cutting the grass around the parking lot and along the trail, and cutting brush and fallen trees from the trail. We also clean up the trash that gets washed ashore from the Watauga River.
Bill Beazell / Allen Robbins Memorial Tailwater Roundup
Each year we team up with the local guides and community members to take on our biggest cleanup of the year. Over 125 people come out to show their support for the South Holston and Watauga Rivers. The Appalachian Paddling Enthusiasts (APES) and local drift boat fishing guides play a huge role in this event. They float the majority of the rivers cleaning up trash along the way and collecting trash bags from the land crews in hard to access areas. Together we clean up about 6 tons of trash annually.