Riverkeeper report: Lower Nottoway DUMPED!

Published 11:56 am Saturday, January 16, 2016

This otter was among a romp of five recently spotted hunting, playing and swimming on the Nottoway River. -- SUBMITTED | Jeff Turner

This otter was among a romp of five recently spotted hunting, playing and swimming on the Nottoway River. — SUBMITTED | Jeff Turner

Spirit of Moonpie and I spent the 6th through the 8th on the Nottoway below Round Gut. The water was high at 11 ft on the Sebrell USGS gauge, fast and 39 degrees. Air temps ranged from 38 to 50 degrees.

The fishing on this trip was poor to say the least. I did not try casting as the water was just too messed up. So I tried mostly for yellow perch and only caught three. I also caught three speckle, a blackfish and a 20-pound carp that was a lot of fun. All were caught on a vertically jigged blade bait.

While the fishing was not great, I did get some most excellent film footage of a romp of five otters. Yes, a romp is a family or group of otters and no, I did not know that!

They were a vocal bunch that were swimming along the shore making loud otter noises and hunting and playing. I followed them for 30 minutes or better and in that time actually learned a lot about the family. It seemed at least one was the leader, possibly the mother or father. It was paying closer attention to me than the rest and seemed to try to discourage the others from investigating me and the strange otter-looking thing (Moonpie) that was in the boat with me looking back at them.

Also there was always one straggler that seemed to have a deformed tail or something. When it swam the tail would come out of the water sometimes and it was stiff-looking and bent. Moonpie named that one Old Rudder Butt.

One day I will possibly put another film together and that footage will certainly be used.

Okay, now for the bad news. I discovered where somebody is dumping into the swamp at Round Gut. The first day out I noticed there was more trash on that part of the river than I had ever seen. That part of the river rarely has much trash. I was stunned at the amount. It was not until the second day that I discovered all of it was downriver from Round Gut. So I did my investigation and found the dumpsite up in the gut. The place is terrible and when the water comes up like it did last week, it washes that stuff out of the swamp into the gut then into the river. I have turned the information I gathered over to the county and will let you know what happens with this. With all the environmental awareness today that is taught in schools, talked about by politicians and seen on TV, I just cannot understand people now days being so ignorant not to know better. Why are there people still around that are so bad to the two rivers we call the Nottoway and Blackwater?

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