Riverkeeper report: Tropical Storm Andrea trashes Blackwater River

Published 9:20 am Friday, June 14, 2013

Spirit of Moonpie and I spent the 9th through the 10th on the Blackwater below Franklin. The water was high and fast and getting muddy. Water temp was 70 degrees. It was a really damp muggy trip.

We had planned on doing the usual three-day patrol but with the water rising so fast I was afraid of having trouble getting that big boat out of the river so we came in a day early. That was a good call as we ended up with torrential rains that day. I tried a little fishing and did manage to catch a bunch of nice red throats in the fast water. All were caught on a baby Snagless Sally, one of the finest bream lures ever made and weedless to boot. Now don’t jump on the computer and waste your time looking for one, they are not being produced anymore in that size. That’s a shame but it’s what can happen when an old family owned business sells out to a Chinese company.

The river on this trip certainly had its issues. The day before we put in the Franklin wastewater treatment plant was having problems and blowing cloudy again into the river. There was also right much trash from the cities stormwater canal, but that was to be expected with all the rain. I have seen it far worse though, so the one bag I picked up wasn’t too bad.

Early on the first day I ventured down to the Cherry Grove nest to check on the baby eagles’ progress. I’m happy to report both youngin’s survived and are already flying quite well. They are some ugly rascals and hard to find with their blacked out heads and tails, but I guess that’s their baby camo outfit.

That night I had to spend the night under the Rt. 58-bridge ‘cause of the storms and rain. It’s surprising right downtown how much wildlife one can see. We saw several snakes swim across right there where everybody fishes. Right after we had supper it really started to rain and we ended up getting a surprise visitor. A little deer came running out of the storm and joined us under the protection of the bridge. It hung around until Moonpie run it off trying to take pictures of it. We also saw a mink scurry past in a big hurry, but I think that was because it did not like the Led Zeppelin Moonpie was jamming to under the bridge — on one of the two rivers we call the Blackwater and Nottoway.

Where’s that confounded bridge?

JEFF TURNER is riverkeeper for the Blackwater/Nottoway Riverkeeper Program, an environmentally conscious organization that focuses on keeping local waterways healthy. BNRP’s parent organization is The Waterkeeper Alliance. Contact Turner at his website, www.blackwaternottoway.com.