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Buffalo River

Buffalo River

The Buffalo River is the longest unimpounded river in Middle Tennessee. Some other rivers are longer but have been impounded by dams to form lakes. The Buffalo river flowing 125 miles through the southern and western portions of Middle Tennessee is longer than the Sequatchie River by 10 miles . It is the largest tributary of the Duck River and is used for canoeing, especially in its middle section. The river is named for the Buffalo fish which was abundant when the first European settlers arrived and is still abundant in it’s lower reaches. The Buffalo River has become especially popular as a float for canoeist and kayakers because of it’s scenic beauty, easy pace and the fact it’s water temperature permits swimming compared to tail water rivers. Add to that the development efforts of camping and canoe rental outfitters expanding accessibility and a major economic engine for the region is born. The Buffalo River has many visitors and is one of Tennessee’s most loved rivers.



The Buffalo rises in northern Lawrence County. Both the North and South Forks are crossed by U.S. Highway 43, the North Fork several times as it parallels that highway for about 3 miles (5 km). The confluence of these two forks about a mile west of that highway is considered to be the head of the Buffalo.

From the confluence, the Buffalo trends basically northwest for several miles, crossing into Lewis County, where it is crossed by the Natchez Trace Parkway. The confluence with the Little Buffalo River is in Lewis County as well, along with that of several other more minor tributaries. The stream is paralleled for a distance and then crossed by State Route 99 while flowing through the broad Texas Bottoms. In Lewis County, although meandering, the course of the stream is basically westward. Entering into northern Wayne County, the stream receives several more tributaries, most notably the Green River.


A few miles below the mouth of the Green River near the community of Flatwoods, the Buffalo is bridged by State Route 13 and then turns to run a northerly course for the balance of its flow. It also crosses into Perry County near here. For most of its flow through Perry County, the Buffalo is roughly paralleled by State Route 13. Shortly after crossing into Humphreys County, it is bridged by Interstate 40. A few miles north of this is its confluence with the Duck.

The upper part of the Buffalo River, in Lawrence County, is designated as a “State Scenic River” under the Tennessee Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.

The only incorporated towns along the Buffalo, Linden and Lobelville, are located in Perry County. Two unincorporated communities are adjacent to the river in Perry County, Flatwoods and Beardstown.

The Buffalo River watershed is the total land area that drains into the Buffalo River. It is designated as Hydrologic Unit Code (HUC) 06040004 by the USGS. It empties into watershed 06040003, the Lower Duck River watershed.

The Buffalo River watershed is composed of three sub-watersheds; two sections of the Buffalo River and the Cane Creek sub-watershed. The southeastern part of the Buffalo River watershed is HUC 0604000401. It includes the headwaters of the Buffalo plus the Little Buffalo River and both Chief Creek and Fortyeight Creek. The western side and northern one-third of the watershed is HUC 0604000402. It reaches from the Green River in Wayne County at the southern end to the mouth of the Buffalo in Humphreys County. Cane Creek, the third part of the watershed is HUC 0604000403. It includes both Upper and Lower Cane Creek and stretches from the headwaters of Cane Creek near Hohenwald in Lewis County to the mouth of Cane Creek at Beardstown in Perry County.



The Buffalo River watershed contains 1,200 miles of tributary streams and 349 lake acres of impounded water in ponds and water stored behind 10 dams. These dams are primarily in the southeastern portion of the watershed.[6]:4?6 The majority of the impounded water is in Laurel Hill Lake with 329 acres (133 ha) with an additional 22 acres (8.9 ha) in the VFW Lake.[9]:3 TDEC has also identified some wetlands sites in the southeastern portion of the watershed.

The Buffalo is rich in aquatic life. Fishing it through passive methods such as limb and trot lines is traditional. There are many catfish and other non-game fish such as drum. The largest aquatic animal often found in the Buffalo is the alligator snapping turtle; which is in fact often caught (unintentionally for the most part) on trot and limb lines. These can easily weigh 50 pounds (23 kg) or more.

TDEC lists 48 rare plant and animal species in the watershed. Rarity typically results from either a small population or a very restricted range. The non-aquatic species include 18 plants, one mammal, three birds, two reptiles, one amphibian, three insects and spiders, and one other invertebrate, There are 20 aquatic species associated with the river or its tributaries; 12 fish, one crustacean, three mussels, and four snails.

Identified rare fish in the Buffalo include eight varieties of Darters, one catfish (Saddled Madtom), and one Cavefish (Southern Cavefish). Most of the identified darters are listed as either Threatened or Endangered by either the State or Federal government.

Credit for Description above: Wikipedia

Wiki/Creative Commons License for description above only:http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/


Please consider showing your appreciation of The Buffalo River by picking up some litter during your next visit, many hands make light work.

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