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Researchers to release findings on Smith River Project


BLACKSBURG, Va., Aug. 30, 2004 – The Smith River Research Project will present its research findings at a public forum at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 8, in Collinsville, Va., at the Henry County Administration Building, 3300 Kings Mountain Road.

Researchers from the Virginia Tech Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences will be presenting results from the five-year study of the Smith River entitled: "Influences of Fluctuating Releases on Stream Habitat for Brown Trout in the Smith River below the Philpott Dam."

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been invited to make a short presentation on the status of its Philpott 216 Study, which will then be followed by a panel-type question and answer period during the second hour of the meeting. The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Sport Fish Restoration Program funded the Smith River Research Project.

Results from this study will provide fisheries managers, local citizens, anglers, and the Army Corp of Engineers with information to assist with decisions on how to best manage the Smith River, which is one of the state's most popular trout fishing areas.

The Smith River Research project is designed to answer questions about the best flow regimes for managing trout growth and persistence through stream temperature control; determining the baseline conditions for brown trout growth, distribution, and survival; evaluating the non-game fish community, including one endangered species; determining the levels of aquatic invertebrate forage; and identifying the roles that the tributaries play in defining the main channel community.

The Smith River Research Project principal investigators are Virginia Tech fisheries professors, Don Orth, Tammy Newcomb, Andy Dolloff, civil and environmental engineering professor Panayiotis Diplas, and project coordinator Colin Krause.

"The River is an excellent example of a potential highly valuable urban natural resource. There exists a tremendous opportunity to develop an enviable greenway and attractive resource that will bring revenue to the area because of the unique and rare opportunity for high quality trout fishing in this locality," said Orth.

The College of Natural Resources at Virginia Tech consistently ranks among the top five programs of its kind in the nation. Faculty members stress both the technical and human elements of natural resources and instill in students a sense of stewardship and land-use ethics. Areas of studies include environmental resource management, fisheries and wildlife sciences, forestry, geospatial and environmental analysis, natural resource recreation, urban forestry, wood science and forest products, geography, and international development.

Founded in 1872 as a land-grant college, Virginia Tech has grown to become among the largest universities in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Today, Virginia Tech's eight colleges are dedicated to putting knowledge to work through teaching, research, and outreach activities and to fulfilling its vision to be among the top research universities in the nation. At its 2,600-acre main campus located in Blacksburg and other campus centers in Northern Virginia, Southwest Virginia, Hampton Roads, Richmond, and Roanoke, Virginia Tech enrolls more than 28,000 full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries in 180 academic degree programs.