Our Aquatic Heritage

Fontant Lake
Fontana Lake

In the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the vast majority of water is of the flowing variety. The park currently boasts 77 species of fish that occupy 12 different families. Therefore, the current 77 species of ray-finned fishes must be able to navigate and successfully exist somewhere within the Park's 2,100 + miles of flowing water. Surprisingly, of the 2,100 miles of streams in the park, fish only occupy approximately 800 miles. Even the large reservoirs on the South and Western border of the Park are merely impounding the Little Tennessee River, with quite a volume of flow-through.

carinatumbookThe wonderful thing about the waters of the park is that they are all within a landmass that is protected. It is preserved as a showcase of what clean water looks like, and how it also preserves all aquatic life within, including a great diversity of fishes. This does not mean that the fishes of the park are all thriving. There are several species of fish that are state and/or federally listed as being threatened or endangered. Because of this, Conservation Fisheries Incorporated of Knoxville, TN has been working with DLIA and Park Staff to restore rare  fish populations.

crassilabrumbookHowever, air pollution on our mountaintops, even from sources hundreds of miles away, have added acid to the headwater streams at high elevations and have removed or limited the life forms inhabiting them. 95% of streams in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are sensitive or extremely sensitive to acidification. Please join DLIA and other friends of the park, and do whatever you can do to say "No!" to air pollution - for the park fishes, for us, and for generations to come.

cyanellusbookFor more information about the fishes of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, refer to the DLIA fish pages starting at http://www.dlia.org/class-actinopterygii. Here you can find information regarding species, habitat, appearance, and interesting facts.

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