Sicklefin Redhorse

Sicklefin Redhorse

The Sicklefin Redhorse (Moxostoma sp.) is a type of sucker that was not recognized as a distinct fish species by the scientific community until 1992, yet Cherokee had identified it by name (“jungihtla”) as unique for centuries. It is an endemic species to the Little Tennessee and Hiwassee River Basins. This fish historically providedan important subsistence resource for the Cherokee people. Today, few Cherokee anglers pursue redhorse. EBCI and other conservation partners formed a Candidate Conservation Agreement to prevent listing under the Endangered Species Act.

Southern Appalachian Brook Trout

The southern Appalachian Brook Trout (Salveliinus fontinalis) is the only native trout found within EBCI watersheds. Southern Appalachian Brook Trout are predominantly located in headwater streams where there is reduced competition with other trout species and predation by otters. Southern Appalachian Brook Trout are sensitive to degraded water quality and have shown population declines due to historic agriculture, forestry, textile practices, siltation, habitat fragmentation, and climate change.

Aquatic Diversity

Fishing is an important component of historic and modern Cherokee culture from both a subsistence and recreational perspective.  Although southeastern watersheds contain the richest diversity of fish in temperate North America, the aquatic systems in this region are highly imperiled. By collecting data on fish communities, we can gauge the health of streams. Currently, streams on EBCI lands face many threats including bank erosion, siltation, pollution, habitat modification, acid deposition, climate change, and invasive species.