Spring Run Creek

The planet Earth contains about 326 million cubic miles of water. Fresh water makes up only 3% of all the water on earth. During the next century, water will be the most critical issue confronting the world's constantly growing population. Relating the Flint and Chattahoochee drainage systems to several river systems throughout the world adds a global dimension to lessons learned about good and bad water management practices.

 

Grass Carp

Grass Carp, also known as the white amur, is native to eastern Asia with a range from northern Vietnam to the Amur River on the Siberia-China border. It was introduced into Europe and the United States for aquatic weed control. Grass Carp have long, chubby, torpedo-shaped bodies that are dark olive that shade to brownish-yellow, with a white belly and large, slightly outlined scales. It grows rapidly with adults reaching 4 feet in length and weighing 40 lbs. Grass Carp live an average of 5 to 9 years. They eat up to three times their own body weight daily in freshwater vegetation.

 
   

Bluegill Sunfish

The Bluegill is one of the species of fish that is most commonly called “bream.” They can grow up to 16 inches in length. They prefer clear, warm lake habitats with rooted vegetation. Their diet consists of small invertebrates and fish. They are native to a wide range of North America, from Quebec to northern Mexico. The most notable feature of the Bluegill is the blue or black ear that is an extension of the gill cover. Its name comes from the bright blue edging visible on its gill cover. It is a schooling fish with individuals from 20 to 30 fish per school. Some males assume the coloration of the female fish so that the nest guarding males won’t show aggression toward them.

 
   

Spotted Gar

The Spotted Gar is a freshwater fish native to North America. They are usually found in clear shallow water in creeks, rivers and lakes. They have a profusion of dark spots on the body. They are long with an elongated mouth with many teeth used to eat other fish and crustaceans, as well as insect larvae and algae. They grow 2-3 feet in length and weigh 4-6 pounds on average. Gars spawn in shallow water with lots of vegetation during April and May. The female is usually larger and live longer than the males. Females lay on an average of 13,000 eggs up to about 20,000 eggs. It usually takes 10 to 14 days for the eggs to hatch. The male’s average lifespan is 8 years while the female’s is 10 years with a maximum lifespan of 18 years. Although not on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s federally endangered species list, the gars population is vastly decreasing due to human destruction of aquatic vegetation and creating sedimentation in the waters. Waste and chemical drainage causes chemical buildup and contamination of the water.

 
   

Large Mouth Bass

Largemouth bass grow 4 to 6 inches during their first year, 8 to 12 inches in two years, 16 inches in three years. They are usually green with dark blotches that form a horizontal stripe along the middle of the fish on either side. The underside ranges in color from light green to almost white. They have a nearly divided dorsal fin with the anterior portion containing nine spines and the posterior portion containing 12 to 13 soft rays. Their upper jaw reaches far beyond the rear margin of the eye. Adult largemouth bass are the top predators in the aquatic ecosystem.

 
   

Spotted Sucker

The Spotted Suckers are widely found throughout the central and southeastern United States and southern Canada. They inhabit deep pools of small to medium rivers and creeks over clay, sand and gravel. They get their name from 8 to 12 parallel rows of dark spots at the scale bases on the back and sides. This fish has thin lips and a horizontal mouth and can reach a length of about 19 inches.

 
   

Albino Alligator

Albino animals have a rare genetic condition in which the pigment melanin is absent from the animals coloration. Albino alligators are even rarer than some other albinos in that the albino condition makes them stand out to larger predators when they are young. Also, it makes them subject to sunburn, which in the southern states where they are native, causes a significant problem as far as survivability is concerned. This makes them practically impossible to find in the wild. Native to the Southeastern U.S., the American Alligator is an apex predator, consuming fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. Adult males average 11 feet and 500 pounds while smaller females average 8.5 feet and 200 pounds. The largest reported alligator, measuring 19 feet 2 inches, was a male killed in 1890 on Marsh Island, Louisiana. Alligators can live up to 50 years.

 
   

American Alligator

Native to the Southeastern U.S., the American Alligator is an apex predator, consuming fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. Adult males average 11 feet and 500 pounds while smaller females average 8.5 feet and 200 pounds. The largest reported alligator, measuring 19 feet 2 inches, was a male killed in 1890 on Marsh Island, Louisiana. Alligators can live up to 50 years.

 
   

Alligator Snapping Turtle

The largest freshwater turtle in North America, the alligator snapping turtle is found primarily in the southeastern United States. Due to the exotic pet trade and habitat destruction, it is considered a threatened species. Alligator snapping turtles are believed to be capable of living up to 200 years in the wild but 80 to 120 is more likely. In captivity, they typically live 20 to 70 years. The most distinguishing characteristic of this species is its worm-like tongue which it uses as a decoy to lure unsuspecting fish. When they come close, the turtle snaps its powerful jaws shut, securing its prey.

 
   

Flathead Catfish

The flathead catfish, also known as the motley, yellow cat, Opelousas, bashaw or shovelhead cat, is a species of North American freshwater catfish. The flathead can be found from the lower Great Lakes region to northeastern Mexico. Flatheads can grow up to 61 inches long and may weigh as much as 120 pounds. They are carnivores or benthic feeders, preferring live prey and feed primarily on other fish, insects, worms and crustaceans. Because flathead catfish can be found in deep pools, lakes and slow-moving rivers, they are popular among fishermen. On May 14, 1998, an angler caught a flathead weighing 123 lbs 9 oz in the Elk City Reservoir, Kansas; that record still stands.

 
   

Longnose Gar

Longnose Gar can reach up to 6 feet in length and young feed on plankton, as adults eat shad, silversides, other fish, snakes, etc... They have a lifespan of 30 years. They are found in warm, shallow bodies of water such as rivers and lakes. This fish can be found in the eastern half of the United States, north into Canada and as far south as Mexico. Longnose Gar are predatory and have many tiny razor sharp teeth that can be seen if you can get close enough to one. It is a game fish even though people consider it a trash fish and normally don’t eat them. The long nose supports over 100 tiny needle-sharp teeth. The word “gar” is an old Anglo-Saxon word meaning “spear.” A gar’s instinct is to lie and wait for passing schools of fish. When a fish swims by, the gar turns its head to the side with lightening fast speed to pierce and rip its prey. This wounds the prey for the gar to eat.

 
   

Striped Bass

The Striped Bass has a streamlined, silvery body marked with longitudinal dark stripes running from behind the gills to the base of the tail. They have a maximum size of 6.6 feet and a maximum recorded weight of 125 pounds. Common mature size is 3.9 feet. The Striped Bass is believed to live for up to 30 years. Striped Bass are native to the Atlantic coastline of North America. They are anadromous fish that migrate between fresh and salt water. The Striped Bass is the state fish of Maryland, Rhode Island, and South Carolina. It is the state saltwater fish of New York, New Jersey, Virginia, and New Hampshire.

 
   

Common Snapper

The Common Snapping Turtle is a freshwater turtle that can be found in areas from southeastern Canada, to the southwest edge of the Rocky Mountains, in Nova Scotia to the east, south into Florida and into northeastern Mexico. The Common Snapping Turtle is one of two of the species found in North America. Common Snapping Turtles have ridged carapaces (upper shell) which at maturity can measure up to 20 inches in length. They are known for their powerful jaws, and mobile heads and necks which resemble a snake (the word serpentina means “snake-like”). Their weight can average from 10 to 35 pounds. The heaviest wild Common Snapping Turtle caught weighed 75 pounds.