Population samples collected in 2003 and 2004 revealed very good numbers of smallmouth in several sections of the river. The North Fork of the Holston River originates in Bland County and flows 100 miles through Virginia to Tennessee. The Tennessee Water Quality Control Act identifies the commissioner of the Department of Environment and Conservation as having the authority and responsibility to issue advisories for either water contact hazards like pathogens or excessive health risks due to the accumulation of contaminants in fish or shellfish. The North Fork in Virginia is known as an excellent smallmouth bass river (due to mercury contamination, fish caught in the North Fork of the Holston below Saltville, Virginia must not be consumed). TDEC advises that pregnant or nursing mothers and children avoid eating the fish species included in the advisory and that all others limit consumption to one meal per month. An EPA website has additional information about mercury at http://www2.epa.gov/fish-tech/epa-fda-advisory-mercury-fish-and-shellfish. North America. All bass less than 20 inches must be released. Mercury contamination derived from industrial activity persists in the North Fork Holston River in southwest Virginia and in the South River extending downstream to the South Fork Shenandoah River in the Shenandoah Valley. A 20-inch minimum size limit is in effect for smallmouth bass in the North Fork Holston River from the Route 91 Bridge, upstream of Saltville, downstream to the Tennessee State line. The department collected additional fish in 2009. Until recently, Virginia's only known concerns with mercury contaminated fish had been caused by two instances of historic, industrial contamination in the North Fork Holston River and in the South River and South Fork Shenandoah River. Total Mercury in the North Fork Holston River (Ahlstedt 1979; Henley and Neves 1999). Fish from the North Fork Holston and East Fork Poplar Creek are likely to be contaminated with mercury, which is concentrated in the muscle tissue. After this problem was discovered, Olin made process design modifications to their facility to reduce mercury discharges into the river to approximately 113 grams per day. While the North Fork Holston boasts a superb smallmouth bass ( Micropterus dolomieu ) recreational fishery, fish from the North Fork below Saltville, VA cannot be consumed due to mercury … The United States. Sunfish, rockbass, carp, and channel catfish fishing are also good. For a complete listing of Tennessee’s current fishing advisories plus additional information about the advisory issuance process, visit, https://www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/environment/water/planning-and-standards/wr_wq_fish-advisories.pdf. All three forks in Virginia, South Holston Lake, and the Holston River in Tennessee below the South Holston Dam offer relatively easy-to-reach recreation opportunities. force and Olin on reducing mercury discharges to the North Fork of the Holston River, Olin conducted an ero-sion control project. Local waters under the advisory include the Watauga Reservoir, Upper Holston Lake in Tennessee and the Holston River from the confluence of North and South Fork … In the press release announcing the advisory, the department acknowledged that mercury levels in the remainder of Cherokee Reservoir did not currently exceed the trigger, but needed to be watched in the future. The 2009 catch was 99 smallmouths per hour of electrofishing, and the 2008 catch rate was 133 fish per hour. Both the department and TVA sampled fish at two locations: the lake forebay near the dam at river mile 55 and at U.S. Hwy 25E at mile 76. According to the EPA, atmospheric deposition due to the global burning of coal is the most frequent reason for elevated levels of mercury in fish. This river is still under a health advisory from mercury contamination. TDEC will post warning signs at public access points and will work with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency to communicate this information to the public. Lewis. Tennessee’s General Water Quality Criteria provide additional guidance regarding the conditions under which advisories may be warranted. It is very important that children not eat fish contaminated with mercury. In recent years the catch rates have been above average. The advisory was due to mercury levels in various bass species that exceeded the new trigger point for mercury in fish tissue (0.3 mg/kg). The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) today announced the extension of the existing precautionary fish consumption advisory on the Holston River due to mercury to also include Cherokee Reservoir. North Fork Holston River: Sullivan, Hawkins: VA Stateline (Mile 0.0 – 6.2) Mercury: Do not eat the fish. The Holston River flows into the Holston Lake which is a source of drinking water. Mercury contamination of fish is becoming an important issue in Virginia as well as many other states. North Fork Holston River. Washington. The North Fork of the Holston River already contains mercury from pollution that entered it near Saltville, Va., years ago. * South Holston Reservoir: Sullivan TDEC considers there to be two plausible sources of mercury in the Holston River and Cherokee Reservoir. 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