Riverkeeper report: Scenic river? Nott-a-way
Published 9:21 pm Saturday, March 26, 2016
Spirit of Moonpie and I spent the 22nd through the 23rd on the Nottoway in the Courtland area. The water was a little high at 8.11 feet on the Sebrell USGS gauge, tinted and 51 degrees. Air temps ranged from 30 to 76 degrees. It was a full moon trip, which made it really awesome. The fishing on this trip was not so great for some reason. I was nearly skunked the first and second days only catching a single shad the first day and only a shad and a red throat the second. Luckily I stayed late on the third day which I usually do not do and ended up catching about 20 shad finally. I also caught a fish Moonpie and I did not know existed in our rivers, a Yellow-Headed Sturgeon (see picture).
It was a nice one though it looked a little deflated and hungry. One of the missions of this trip was to check on the eagle nest upriver from Courtland near the city of Norfolk’s pump station. You know, the one Norfolk draws our river water from for pretty much free then; sells it to its citizens. The nest looked added to this year, but I did not see anybody around.
That does not mean they are not there as that nest is really deep and they might have been hunkered down inside to get out of the terrible wind that was blowing me all over the place that day.
The other mission was to check on the Styrofoam on that part of the river since a couple weeks ago I found some downriver around Hercules. This trip I was able to travel all the way to where the source of the styro originated. I have never been able to get that far upriver before in the Riverkeeper boat but because of the elevated river level, I made it with no issues. I found no styro there, WHY, you ask, well that’s because it has now moved downriver to Courtland. And who do you think is picking it up? ME, so I was mad as hell all over again. I picked up bagfuls, some pieces as big as a cooler and there are still loads of it in the river.
Also, the regular trash on that part of the river was the worse I have EVER seen it…EVER!. I picked up 4 full, heavy VDOT orange trash bags full. As I predicted nearly a year ago, the Styrofoam in the Nottoway will be with us for years. So yea, with all that crap in the river and all the logging along the river up there (some where the Va. Dept. of Forestry let them cut cypress trees right along the river) the Nottoway is not so scenic anymore, at least along that stretch. It’s disgusting, criminal and un-American that others can ruin it for the rest of us on the two rivers we call the Nottoway and Blackwater Rivers.
JEFF TURNER is the Blackwater/Nottoway Riverkeeper. He can be reached at email@example.com.