According to Freshwater Fishes of Virginia, by Robert Jenkins and Noel Burkhead, native fish in the Roanoke watershed have one of the most distinctive faunas in the Eastern United States. There are 82 native species in the Roanoke watershed, and five of those are endemic - native forms that live only in the Roanoke watershed. These include the Roanoke hogsucker, rustyside sucker, orangefin madtom, riverweed darter and bigeye jumprock.
A federally endangered species, the Roanoke logperch also lives here and is in danger of disappearing because of pollution and habitat alteration. The logperch has an unusual stone-flipping foraging technique. Using its "pig-like" snout, it turns over gravel and small rocks on stream bottoms to feed on midges, caddisflies and other small insects.
The Roanoke logperch is considered a healthy water indicator because it requires a relatively pollution-free habitat for survival. This logperch has also been seen in Stony Creek, a tributary of the Nottoway River, which flows into the Chowan River and ultimately into the Albemarle Sound. Stony Creek has been identified by INSTAR as one of the exceptionally healthy streams in Virginia.
Click here to view the complete story about the Roanoke River watershed in the Healthy Waters book.