Virginia Tech researchers to release findings on Smith River Project

August 31, 2004

BLACKSBURG, Va., - Findings from the Smith River Research Project will be presented at a public forum at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 8, in Collinsville, Va., at the Henry County Administration Building, 3300 Kings Mountain Road.

Researchers from the Virginia Tech Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences will be presenting results from the five-year study of the "Influences of Fluctuating Releases on Stream Habitat for Brown Trout in the Smith River below the Philpott Dam."

The dam and river are located in the mountains northwest of Martinsville, which is near the Virginia-North Carolina line. The river is home to a wild population of brown trout.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been invited to make a short presentation on the status of its Philpott 216 Study, which will then be followed by a panel-type question and answer period during the second hour of the meeting. The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Sport Fish Restoration Program funded the Smith River Research Project.

Results from this study will provide fisheries managers, local citizens, anglers, and the Army Corp of Engineers with information to assist with decisions on how to best manage the Smith River, which is one of the state's most popular trout fishing areas.

The Smith River Research project is designed to answer questions about the best flow regimes for managing trout growth and persistence through stream temperature control; determining the baseline conditions for brown trout growth, distribution, and survival; evaluating the non-game fish community, including one endangered species; determining the levels of aquatic invertebrate forage; and identifying the roles that the tributaries play in defining the main channel community.

The Smith River Research Project principal investigators are Virginia Tech fisheries professors, Don Orth, Tammy Newcomb, Andy Dolloff, civil and environmental engineering professor Panayiotis Diplas, and project coordinator Colin Krause.

"The River is an excellent example of a potential highly valuable urban natural resource. There exists a tremendous opportunity to develop an enviable greenway and attractive resource that will bring revenue to the area because of the unique and rare opportunity for high quality trout fishing in this locality," said Orth.
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Virginia Tech

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