Riverkeeper report: TV crew visits Blackwater

Published 10:28 am Saturday, October 4, 2014

Spirit of Moonpie and I spent the 27th through the 29th on the Blackwater around Franklin. The water was clear, a little high and 70 degrees. Air temps ranged from 53 to 75 degrees.

Skeeters were terrible during the day but because of the cool nights, they did not bother us at all after about 8 p.m.

Trash on the river was really bad. I’m guessing from that last big rain and all of it was below the city of Franklin. So most of it came from the Franklin ditches..again. Much of this trash is not old stuff that has been hung up in the system for years. It is new, or recent, which means people are still throwing this stuff in the ditches somewhere upstream. I’m talking things like kids toys, tires with rims, big things as well of course as the regular trash of bottles, Styrofoam food containers/cups and candy wrappers. I collected 3 basketballs also, so it would appear this stream is coming from the Southside main feeder ditch where the King Rec Center sits. I just do not understand why so much of this stuff gets in the ditches. The City of Franklin has trash pick up service, why throw it in the ditch?

The fishing on this trip was not great. Bream were slow, though I saw a couple fellers that did well with crickets. I only caught 7 bass and all of those were very small. At night I caught one nice 6-pound channel cat and the next night a small blackfish but that was it. Moonpie says I might as well give up the rod and reel catfishing cause I stink so badly at it. Anyway, I’ll be catching plenty on limb-lines soon, but I just wanted to figure out why I can’t catch them from the boat. Weird! Moonpie thinks its because the pontoon boat emits a slight electrical discharge from dissimilar metals on the boat being immersed in the rivers causing galvanic corrosion and the boats sacrificial anodes are repelling the catfish. I did not know what to say about all of that except that I’m glad she is using her cell phone internet to good advantage..I think!

This trip had an interesting component to it. On the 2nd day I took a group out from the Dogwood Alliance and a reporter and cameraman from CCTV America. They are doing a story on the wood pellet industry and wanted to see what a pretty river we have and better understand why we want it to stay that way. They, like others, think it’s strange we are selling off our forest to be burned in Europe and the EU seems more concerned about it than we do here in the U.S. I guess it’s because they consumed their forest years ago and better appreciate what we take for granted and assume will always be in abundance. I sure would hate for us end up in that predicament along the two rivers we call the Blackwater and Nottoway.

JEFF TURNER is the Blackwater/Nottoway Riverkeeper. He can be reached at blknotkpr@earthlink.net.