Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency news

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State wildlife commission
meets today at Gatlinburg

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Commission (TWRC) will convene for the final time of the calendar year when it meets Dec. 1-2 at Gatlinburg. The meeting will be held at the Clarion Inn and Suites.
Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) Wildlife Division Chief Greg Wathen will update commission members on the State Wildlife Grants program that was implemented in 2000 to provide critical funding in support of fish and wildlife that are rare and on the decline. Since the program began, the TWRA has been allocated more than $10 million to enhance nongame wildlife conservation programs statewide. Many of the projects funded with the program’s funds have provided important habitat for all wildlife.
To participate in the State Wildlife Grants program, each state wildlife agency was required to develop a State Wildlife Action Plan. Tennessee’s plan has been recognized as one of the best plans in the nation due in large part to the partnership that the TWRA formed with The Nature Conservancy. In recognition of the 10-year anniversary, presentations will be made at the meeting from The Nature Conservancy and the American Eagle Foundation, two partners who have aided in securing funds for the program.
Among other items on the agenda, a project overview and status report for the Elizabethton Fish Hatchery will be made. The commission will hear a report on the status of hellbenders in Tennessee. The hellbender is the largest amphibian in North America.
The commission meeting will begin at 9 a.m. on Dec. 2. The public is invited to attend.

Landowner Incentive
report has been released

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) has released a report entitled “Landowner Incentive Program: Summary and Assessment through 2009,” a comprehensive review of the agency’s cost-share incentive program aimed at protecting and enhancing habitat for species of greatest conservation need.
The program was funded by grants from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service totaling $3,634,897. The Tennessee Landowner Incentive Program (TNLIP) started in 2004 and will end Dec. 2011. The TWRA and the Nature Conservancy of Tennessee and Virginia have worked together to make the program a success.
The TNLIP has primarily focused on protecting habitat for species of greatest conservation need in the Hatchie River, Duck River, Clinch River and Powell River watersheds. Various other watersheds throughout the state have also had projects funded through TNLIP.
The program also focused on cave and karst systems in Middle and East Tennessee. The majority of projects focused on reducing soil and nutrient runoff into streams and rivers by assisting landowners with installing Best Management Practices such as installing exclusion fencing along streams, alternate water sources for livestock, feeding pads for livestock, grass buffers and tree buffers.
The TNLIP has included 117 projects across the state, with the vast majority occurring in the Duck River watershed. Overall, 188,237 feet of stream bank exclusion fencing, 134 alternate water sources for livestock, 43 livestock stream crossings, 75 acres of forest buffer and 115 acres of native grass buffer have been installed across the state.
At a minimum, TNLIP has benefited 105 species of greatest conservation need in Tennessee.
On average, projects have benefited nine species of greatest conservation need and four federally listed species. This does not include other wildlife species such as songbirds, deer, turkey and game fish that also benefited from TNLIP habitat improvements.
A final TNLIP report will be produced in 2012 after program funds have ended.
The Tennessee Landowner Incentive Program: Summary and Assessment through 2009 can be found at  http://www.state.tn.us/twra/pdfs/tnlipsummary.pdf.

Townsend man hurt
in hunting accident

A Townsend man was injured on Nov. 23 while deer hunting on private land in the Poland Creek section of Blount County, according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA).
According to the report, Bryan A. Mingie, age 23 of Townsend, was deer hunting with a 20 gauge shotgun loaded with a rifled slug. Mingie dropped the shotgun, the weapon discharged, and the slug to strike him in the upper abdomen.
After the accident, Mingie went to a nearby residence where the homeowner called Blount County 911 for assistance.
The victim was transported by Blount County EMS to the University of Tennessee Medical Center with what was thought to be non-life threatening injuries.
The accident continues to be under investigation the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.