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Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Media Contact: Kyle Huneycutt
(706) 379-5319, [email protected]

Note: Image Attached

Young Harris College Biology Professor to Conduct Research in Brasstown Creek
Requests Access to Creek from Private Property

YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. – Young Harris College Assistant Professor of Biology Johnathan Davis, Ph.D., is requesting the support of local community members to access certain areas of Brasstown Creek from private locations in order to continue conducting research on the conservation of the sicklefin redhorse—a species of fish vital to the ecological health of Brasstown Creek and other species residing in it.

With the support of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Dr. Davis has conducted research on the sicklefin redhorse and other redhorses of Brasstown Creek for the past three years.

“Redhorses are an important species that, in an ecological sense, carry out a role in the stream ecosystem similar to the famous migratory salmon species of the Pacific Northwest,” said Dr. Davis. “They improve water quality, create spawning habitats for other species, and increase the nutrients available to support other species.”

The sicklefin redhorse is found only in the Hiwassee River and Little Tennessee River watersheds and is only found in Brasstown Creek in Georgia. Brasstown Creek supports a large diversity of fish and is a biologically rich stream containing many species of fish, crayfishes, and amphibians. Every year, the sicklefin and other redhorses carry out a seasonal migration from the Hiwassee River near Murphy, N.C., into the waters of Brasstown Creek.

“We are intensively studying this fish as part of a collective effort by YHC, DNR, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Division, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and others to conserve this species and prevent the need to list it on the Endangered Species List,” Dr. Davis explained.

Over the next few years, Dr. Davis and biology students at YHC will be capturing sicklefin redhorse and implanting small transponder tags that will allow them to track the movement of individual fish from one year to the next within the creek. This will also allow them to collect important information on spawning time and location, fish age and growth, survival rates, and population size.

“Overall, we will be able to help conserve a unique part of the Enchanted Valley and the historical culture of this area,” said Dr. Davis. “It will be a tremendous help to receive the support of local citizens to access the stream from private property.”

Community members who wish to be involved in this effort can allow Dr. Davis to access Brasstown Creek from their property or request for Dr. Davis to visit their property and identify fish in the stream. For more information, contact Dr. Davis at [email protected] or (706) 379-5228.

About Young Harris College
Young Harris College is a private, baccalaureate degree-granting college located in the beautiful mountains of North Georgia. Founded in 1886 and historically affiliated with The United Methodist Church, Young Harris College educates, inspires and empowers students through the highest quality liberal arts education. The College currently has more than 1,200 students across five divisions—Education, Fine Arts, Humanities, Mathematics and Science, and Social and Behavioral Sciences. The historic campus in Young Harris, Ga., is currently undergoing major campus improvements to accommodate the College’s growth. Recent LEED-certified campus improvements include the 121,000-square-foot Rollins Campus Center, new residence facilities, and a 57,000-square-foot recreation and fitness center. In 2014, the College was granted active membership in NCAA Division II and is a fierce competitor in the prestigious Peach Belt Conference. YHC is among fewer than 300 colleges and universities nationwide named to the 2015-2016 list of Colleges of Distinction. For more information, visit

Dr. Davis

Young Harris College Assistant Professor of Biology Johnathan Davis, Ph.D., is requesting the support of local community members to access certain areas of Brasstown Creek.