The rest of the story...

Here's where I tell you all the stuff that wouldn't fit in a 2-minute TV story.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Bob Jenkins and the Roanoke River

I hope you’ve been enjoying the “best of” stories we’ve been presenting this summer. We’ve been traveling the region for two years now, bringing you stories from off the beaten path.   If there is another reporter on the story – it’s probably not the right fit for this segment! 

During the past couple months, videographer Curt Schruth and I have been busy shooting new stories.  And the first one airs tonight, September 4. -- jc

Dr. Bob Jenkins
Riverweed Darter

We did not see any other media on our recent outing on the Roanoke River where I hoped to accomplish two things – profile Bob Jenkins the man who wrote the book on the freshwater fishes of Virginia – and to show you video of what he’s written about – not the bass and sunfish you already know about, but the beautiful denizens of the river bottom most people have never seen nor heard of.

I’d say we did both. 

We met Jenkins and a team led by Dr. Steve Powers at Green Hill Park in Roanoke County. Jenkins had recently retired from RC and Powers is the person who picked up where Bob left off.  The group used large seins or nets to capture dozens of specimens, among them many darter species that are among the most beautiful fish in the river.

Roanoke Darter

Powers and the team chase small fish into the net.

We also talked about some of the other “keystone” species, like chubs, which build nests out of pebbles, that other species depend upon for reproduction. 

Fantail darter
Jenkins, a noted character who loves Pink Floyd (and other music once described as counter culture) as much as the river, was as colorful as advertised and had no trouble sharing a lifetime of river research on camera.  Don’t worry we edited out the parts where he was a bit too scientific!  (He is, after all, a scientist)

I admit it – I’m a fish geek.  I find this stuff fascinating.  I hope in this story you will see some reason for your own fascination.  Perhaps you will be – as many are – amazed at the number of and variety of fish that call the Roanoke River home.

Stonefly nymph
If nothing else – maybe you’ll look at the river that flows through the heart of our valley a little differently next time you cross over it in your car or while you’re  walking along the greenway. 

By the way – it’s in better shape than you might think and represents a great resource for all of us.

Thanks to Dr. Steve Powers for the photos of the darters.

No comments:

Post a Comment