Published 8:52 am Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Spirit of Moonpie and I have actually gotten out on the river a couple of times since I last reported to you.

Freezing Deer, Moonpie and I went out one morning and picked up a bag of trash around the boardwalk. I could not believe we found a dirty diaper in the water right there where people fish.

You just let Moonpie catch that happening, and I assure you they will not do it again.

Though not up to camping speed yet, we have managed to get three groups of children out on the river for an Eco-Cruise. Though very hot, the kids got to see a little bit of wildlife, and on the Kids College tour, I jumped in the bathtub-warm water and found them some mussels.

The highlight of the day though seemed to be when I showed them a deer skull lodged in the fork of a tree. The tree has now grown around the spooky looking artifact, and with the rest of its bones scattered around piqued their interest of just how this deer skull came to be in the fork of this tree.

Moonpie knows, but she will never tell.

Speaking of mussels, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries released nearly 4,000 special concern Eastern Lampmussels and Eastern Pondmussels into the Nottoway a couple of weeks ago. These were bred from mussels we had gathered on a previous expedition on the river. The mussels were raised at the state hatchery in Charles City.

On Wednesday, Aug. 11, on my way to check the Nottoway at Hercules, I noticed Virginia Department of Transportation had crews out along the Route 671 picking up trash. I just wanted to tell you how great that was to see, and I let them know what a good job they were doing at that location.

There is a lot of swamp along there that trash gets in and goes to the river, so VDOT helped me out a lot there.

The rivers are in pretty sad shape right now. Levels are low on the upper rivers, and dissolved oxygen levels are also low with bacteria levels high.

Fishing, especially for bass, though I’m told, has been pretty good if you go early or late.

Hopefully we will get some significant rain soon, and I’m looking forward to cooler weather this fall.

Now for the bad news. My shoulder surgery has failed, or I have messed it up or something. A recent MRI shows I have a tear in the shoulder, so it looks like the last four months was for nothing.

Don’t know what I’m going to do about it yet. I really do not want to go back through surgery again, and I’m really needin’ to go camping on the two rivers we call the Blackwater and Nottoway.

JEFF TURNER is Riverkeeper for the Blackwater/Nottoway Riverkeeper Program (BNRP), an environmentally conscious organization that focuses on keeping local waterways healthy. BNRP’s parent organization is The Waterkeeper Alliance. Contact information for Turner is listed on the program’s Web site, www.blackwaternottoway.com.