July's speaker will be Tomas Ivasauskas. Tomas grew up in Blacksburg, VA. He was introduced to the study of fisheries science during high school, when he interned with the VA Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries. He enjoyed his experiences at this internship so much that he decided to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Fisheries Science at VA Tech, where he graduated in 2007. He then continued his education by completing a master’s degree at TN Tech University in 2009.
His presentation will focus on the Hiawassee River. Living within the Hiwassee River and its tributaries is a unique fish assemblage that includes six species of Redhorse. All Redhorses are benthic (bottom-dwelling) fish that are adapted for feeding on invertebrates. The Sicklefin Redhorse Moxostoma sp. was not discovered until 1992, despite its large size (up to 22 inches). Due to the impacts of damming, the Sicklefin Redhorse’s naturally small range was reduced by an estimated 50% before the species was ever discovered. As such, it is of special conservation concern and is currently being considered for the Endangered Species List. This presentation will recount the story of the Sicklefin Redhorse’s discovery, describe previous and ongoing efforts to understand and recover Sicklefin Redhorse populations, and will include tips for fishing for Redhorse throughout North Carolina.