Aquatic plants are disappearing in the Tennessee Valley. But why? [photos]

Aquatic plants in Tennessee's waters are disappearing. It's a welcome sight for some. For others, it's a warning sign.

Chris Sumrell poses for a portrait on his fishing boat on Chickamauga Lake on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017, in Chattanooga, Tenn. Sumrell, a lifetime fisherman, is worried about the excessive use of herbicides by waterfront properties, which he says reduces shoreline aquatic plants used by fish as habitats and hatcheries.

Through a small tunnel, tucked in an area with no homes and no docks, a tributary off Soddy Creek slowly flows with clear water. It's filled with aquatic plant life. Plants measure more than 10 feet tall and nothing but a thriving ecosystem lines the shore.

At nearby Possum Creek in Soddy- Daisy, it's the same story.

The view from the side of a boat is nothing but fresh water full of fish and weeds - a fisherman's paradise.

"This is what it's supposed to look like," local fisherman and clean water advocate Chris Sumrell said.

A short boat trip to Soddy Creek paints a different picture.

Plant life is scarce. Weeds, which act as a filtration system for the water and provide cover for fish, are less than a foot high in the few places they can be found.