RRCC Blog HQ
Previously I'd had no idea what a professional operation our leader had cooked up to keep this blog functioning at such a frenetic pace. But with his ostensibly busy work schedule and the additional hours he puts in monitoring the region's USGS river gauges as well as his budding career in Naval Engineering, I knew there had to be a secret. Still, I never imagined all this.
Once the disarmingly friendly receptionist had shown me to my temporary offices, I took a few minutes to familiarize myself with my surroundings.
There's a fully stocked kitchen with beef jerky (both regular AND teriyaki), cases of Pringles, bowls of squirrel fritters, and endless shelves of smoked herring and whole walls made of bricks of Kerry Gold cheese.
The fridge was stocked with fresh huckleberries and three bushels of raw collard greens.
The team of interns generously offered me a snack to go with my mid-morning smoke break, but I thought I'd better press on with the tour.
As I familiarized myself with the facilities I was not surprised to see some photographs by RRCC legends adorning the walls. A John Guider shot of a triumphant crayfish was prominently positioned at the entrance to the Dickel-sponsored whiskey tasting area:
And of course there was a highly evocative Bob Delevante shot from the Duck River:
And I was by no means surprised to see a vintage framed map of Buffalo River access points on the wall:
But, as the rotating floor rounded the turn into the John Graves Alcove I was greeted by an unexpected sight, a world-class collection of Tennessee Valley river mussels on display:
and I quote:
"License Requirement - No person, firm, or corporation shall take, buy, sell, barter, or possess mussels taken from Tennessee waters (alive or dead) that are not of the species and sizes listed above. No person, firm, or corporation shall be in possession of non-processed freshwater mussels unless they have in their possession the required commercial musseling license, wholesale mussel dealer license, or pearl culturing license."
Luckily, with most of the TDEC's staff having either been laid off, or downsized through attrition, I feel we are at relatively low risk of prosecution.
All in all it was a fantastic day, and I'll be reporting back soon.