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In North Carolina there are many amazing resources at hand. One of the greatest resources being, the many streams and rivers that abound in North Carolina. The rivers are the life and blood of the outdoors in North Carolina. From the coast to the Mountains it truly is a blessing to have some of the most beautiful water in the nation.

Back in the Early 1920's the forest of Western North Carolina were demolished for the sake of their lumber. This had enormous environmental impact, causing the fish population to diminish, and leaving a vast and bare landscape. The greatest hit of this era was felt by the fish population.

In North Carolina there is a very special breed of trout, and in fact, this one type of trout is only found in Western North Carolina. It is the southern Appalachian brook trout, or "speck" as it commonly known around locals. During the logging era of North Carolina this unique fish was pushed to the point of near extinction.

This Speck's habitat was hurt in almost every way possible. With the trees gone the water, temperature begin to rise causing some fish to die, and without trees to stop erosion mass amounts of silt poured into the streams causing more fish to die. They were still also being caught leaving virtually no specks in the water.

Because these fish were dying out, the state decided to bring in more fish from different areas of the country. The fish brought in could stand the higher temperatures, and the dirty water. These fish were brown, rainbow, and the northern brook trout, and these fish out competed the already near extinction specks.

The new trout brought in were the rainbow which was brought in form California was much larger than the specks growing up to 50 in, but it is very rare for a speck to grow above 15. The rainbows could tolerate the warmer water; in fact, they thrived on the warmer water, as where it pushed the specks to their limits.(Rainbow Trout) The next trout brought in was the brown trout, a species thought to have come from Germany, although no one knows for sure how it got here in western North Carolina. Brown trout can get to be as big as 15 and 16 pounds, but the state record for brown trout is 24 pounds 10 ounces. That's huge when it's rare for a speck to weigh more than 2 pounds, and they are competing for the same food, and the same living space. The northern brook trout also a larger breed of trout when brought here out competed, and out fought the specks. All these things combined forced this North Carolina exclusive to the point of near extinction.

Michellle Wall president of the Appalachian chapter of Trout Unlimited puts it this way "Over the last century changes in land use patterns, pollution and the introduction of exotic species have severely limited the habitat of this unique and beautiful fish. Acid rain continues to lower the pH of high mountain streams, further limiting the areas in which these fish can thrive."(South's only native trout fighting an upstream battle) This has continued to be a problem for North Carolina's population who love to fish. There are numerous streams which are becoming more and more polluted by the day. There are many things that factor into this pollution such as people who litter in the river, and all the chemicals that seep into the ground water and end back up in the streams.

The other thing still affecting these amazing fish is the continued development of western North Carolina. The development of western North Carolina brings in about 2 billion dollars a year to the state of North Carolina. That's a lot of money, and is probably the biggest reason most of the development laws are not enforced in North Carolina. The main law that should be enforced, but rarely is, is the law that all development areas must have silt nets during the build process. Silt can be one of the single most harmful things to a fishes' body. For starters, the fish's gills can become clogged easily when there is suspended sediment. It can clog and abrase the gills of fish and other aquatic organisms. Also it decreases the fish's resistance to disease, and it impairs their feeding. Because it causes them not to see as well which is fatal for visual feeders such as trout, and it also effects their egg and fry development, and also it kills off all the small aquatic insects that are food for fish.(Fish Habitat)

One way that it's easy to tell if a stream is healthy is if it has a healthy population of stone, caddis, and mayfly larva. Both the stone and the caddis have very low tolerances for pollution, and if a stream or river becomes too polluted then the larva will die out. The problem with this is that the stone, caddis, and mayfly die out, then the fish are left with not much to eat considering that the larva make up 75 percent of the trout's diet. When too much silt is introduced into the larva's environment then they will die, leaving the trout with nothing to eat except for each other, and any other scraps they can find.

Developing trout go through 4 stages. There is the green stage where when a trout's egg is fertilized then it turns a pale green color. Then there is the eyed stage where the egg grows what appears to be a set of eyes, when in actuality it is two trout in the same egg. These are the begging of the embryo. Then there is the sac fry stage where the trout are growing up and they are out of the egg, but they still have a sac attached to their throat which is where they get their food. And finally the sac-fry's become fingerlings which is when the trout is about the size of a human finger. Then the fingerling becomes an adult.

Trout have many thousands of eggs, but in the normal stream environment only a very small number of those eggs will become adult trout. The large number of fry fatalities is due to many factors. For one once a female trout has laid her eggs, she just leaves and does not guard them. Second, trout eggs make for a very easy and tasty meal for the bigger trout that readily eat these eggs. Finally if an egg is luck enough to make it to the fingerling stage the chance of the fish growing up is slim to none because a fingerling is the greatest delicacy for a larger fish.

There is an industry however that hurts the integrity of the rivers and streams in North Carolina more than Development. This industry is the hog farming industry, and is the largest money making industry in North Carolina. North Carolina has the second largest hog farming industry in the nation. There are over 200 hog farms in coastal North Carolina. The problem with North Carolina having the second largest hog farming industry in the nation is the large potential for flooding that exists in coastal North Carolina. When the operations flood the fecal matter from the operations and the bile



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