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Map of the Duck River Area

Class II Pastoral River

7.5’ QUADRANGLE: Verona, Glendale

LOCATION: Approximately 37 miles of the Duck River in Maury County, beginning at Iron Bridge Road near Columbia and extending upstream continuously to the upper most river crossing of the Maury/Marshall county line.

DESCRIPTION: As the Duck River makes its way some 270 miles on its journey through middle Tennessee to the Tennessee River, it passes though some of the state’s most scenic pastoral lands. From its origin in the western part of the Highland Rim, it flows in a westerly direction across the Nashville Basin and the Western Highland Rim before emptying into the Tennessee River. On its journey across middle Tennessee the river passes by pastures and agricultural lands, as well as numerous tall bluffs and steep rocky cliffs and forested banks. The vegetation along the river can be generally characterized as bottomland and riparian hardwoods, mixed hardwoods, cedar forests, brushy thickets, and limestone cedar glades.

The 37-mile section that is designated as a state scenic river is entirely in Maury County, and passes through the 12,800 acres that TVA transferred to the state of Tennesesee in 2001. The Duck River was designated as a state scenic river because of its scenic, ecological, cultural, and historical values. Designation as a state scenic river enhances the ability to protect these values, and the many species of rare and endangered plants and animals that make their home there.

The Duck Rivers is clearly one of the most biologically rich and diverse rivers in North America. Over 500 species of aquatic plants, fish and invertebrates have been documented in the section of the Duck River that has been designated as a state scenic river alone, including at least 39 mussel and 84 fish species. Indeed, the Duck River contains more species of fish than all of Europe.

A good example of this diversity is the birdwing pearly mussel, which depends on a particular species of fish, the banded darter, to host its young. Therefore, the protection of this fish species is critical to the survival of the birdwing pearly mussel. To protect this and other important mussel populations, the entire Duck River has been designated as a mussel sanctuary by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. This designation prohibits commercial harvesting of mussels or any disturbance to their habitat. The Duck River has already lost at least 35 species of mussels through the years, mainly due to development, and agricultural, chemical pollution and effluents. There are now just 34 mussel species living in its waters.

For the recreational boater, the Duck River is characterized as a Class 1 River, meaning that there is moving water with a few riffles and small waves with few or no obstructions. These gentle and scenic characteristics contribute to the popularity of the Duck River for canoeing and fishing. Anglers enjoy catching smallmouth bass, spotted bass, rock bass and catfish from boats and from the river’s banks. Several commercial canoe rental businesses and boat launching areas are located nearby.

PUBLIC ACCESS: Public access to the Duck River is limited at this time, though there are several "traditional use" unimproved access points at some bridge crossings such as: Carpenters Bridge, New Leftwich Bridge, Howard Bridge, and Iron Bridge Road. Developed access points will be provided in the future.

RIVER MANAGEMENT: Division of Natural Areas, 401 Church Street, 14th Floor L&C Tower, Nashville, TN 37243-0447, (615) 532-0431, and Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Middle Tennessee (Region II), Ellington Agricultural Center, P.O. Box 41489, Nashville, TN 37204, 615 -781-6622, Toll Free (In State) 1-800-624-7406.