The Tennessee River hosts nesting bald eagles, contains more that 230 species of marine life and is the sanctuary for both endangered and threatened animals. The Tennessee River and surrounding Tennessee River Valley has a long history with human settlers from the Mound Builders who settled it almost a millennium ago.
The Tennessee River is a haven for many species of animals from birds to fish, making it one of the most diverse river systems in the country. Large numbers of bald eagles nest in the trees around the river. The river houses more than 200 species of fish alone, among which are endangered and threatened species, such as the snail darter, Alabama cavefish and spotfin chub. More than 100 species of mussels live in the river, several of which are endangered as well. Rare and endangered flowers, birds, bats and salamanders also thrive around the river.
The river has a rich history, serving as a home for human settlements stretching back thousands of years. Historians believe that not only does Russell Cave have evidence of human presence from 8,000 years ago, but the Mound Builders lived in the Tennessee River Valley before Spanish explorers reached the area in 1540. Several Native American tribes lived in the area along with French and English settlers.