The Holston Watershed
The Holston River arises in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and flows for approximately 274 miles through Virginia into Tennessee. The Holston River joins the French Broad River in Tennessee to form the Tennessee River.
The Holston River in Virginia is made up of three major forks: North Fork, Middle Fork, and South Fork. The North Fork of the Holston River originates in Bland County and flows 100 miles through Virginia to Tennessee. While the North Fork Holston boasts a superb smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu) recreational fishery, fish from the North Fork below Saltville, VA cannot be consumed due to mercury contamination.
The Middle Fork of the Holston River originates near the Smyth-Wythe County line and flows 56 miles to join the South Fork just southeast of Abingdon, VA in Washington County. The South Fork of the Holston River originates near Sugar Grove, VA and eventually joins the North Fork in Kingsport, TN.
The Holston River watershed is situated in Bland, Wythe, Smyth, Grayson, Scott, and Washington Counties which lie within the Mount Rogers Planning Region as designated under Virginia’s 2015 State Wildlife Action Plan. Of Virginia’s 883 Species of Greatest Conservation Need, 147 are dependent upon habitats provided within the Mount Rogers Planning Region. The Middle Fork and South Fork are also priority areas for the eastern hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis) with historical occurrences and recent survey results confirming presence of the species.
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