This bald eagle was shot but successfully rehabbed at Memphis Zoo
STEWART COUNTY — April 8, 2022 Return to the wild!
STEWART COUNTY — April 8, 2022 Return to the wild!
Project Eagle has landed.
The American Eagle Foundation broke ground Sept. 21 near Kodak, Tennessee on the largest raptor education and rehabilitation facility in North America.
Scheduled to open fall 2022, Project Eagle will be the new home of Challenger, the famous bald eagle seen swooping across football fields as the proud national symbol of the United States of America.
The population of lake sturgeon, a survivor since the Cretaceous Era that barely escaped the ravages of modern dams and reservoirs, is on the upswing in the Holston River and other branches and tributaries of the Tennessee River system. The last record of the fish in the valley before restoration efforts began is about 1960, according to WBIR.
Significantly older fish were identified during a recent inventory of sturgeon, giving hope that some fish were closing in on reproductive maturity. The gradual recovery is largely the result of Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and Tennessee Valley Authority restoration efforts, WBIR reports.
“It makes our valley richer; that fish is supposed to be here,” one researcher told WBIR about the significance of the so-far successful restoration of native sturgeon habitats.
This story was originally published by Tennessee Lookout.
A controversial plan by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officials to clearcut forest in a popular hunting, hiking and recreation area in order to create habitat for Northern bobwhite quail has gotten a legal go-ahead, despite opposition from residents and local leaders in White County, a bipartisan group of lawmakers and environmental groups.
The 16,000-acre Bridgestone Firestone Centennial Wilderness Area, a forested area adjacent to Fall Creek Falls State Park and Virgin Falls State Natural Area, was a late 1990’s gift to the state from the tire company that came with certain strings attached, including that state officials “preserve the property predominantly in its present condition as a wilderness area.”
The Tennessee Wildlife Federation was charged with ensuring the state honors those conditions.
On Friday, a spokeswoman for the Tennessee Wildlife Federation confirmed that outside legal counsel hired to review the state’s clearcutting plan found it “meets the requirements” of the gift.
“Speaking broadly as a conservation nonprofit, we have supported throughout our 75-year history the science-based, proactive management of lands to maintain or restore diverse habitats and diverse wildlife,” Kate Hill, a Tennessee Wildlife Federation spokeswoman, said via email. “The fact is savannas are an endangered habitat in the Southeast that were once common and provided essential habitat to many species across Tennessee.”
Neither the Tennessee Wildlife Federation nor the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency has communicated the outcome of the legal review to local residents, who have complained for months that they have been kept in the dark and offered no meaningful opportunity to weigh in on plans to radically alter a landscape that is both beloved and central to the local economy.
This story was originally published by the nonprofit Tennessee Lookout and is shared (with much appreciation) via Creative Commons License.
It’s a pretty bird, easily recognizable by dark stripes on rust colored feathers and a distinct two-syllable chirp that announces its name: “bob” (the high note) then “white” at a lower pitch — also known as the northern bobwhite, a species of quail.
The otherwise unassuming bird is now at the center of a fight over public lands in White County, Tennessee, pitting the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency against an unlikely coalition of hikers, hunters, cavers, local business leaders and state lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle.
The Conservation Fund and state wildlife and forestry officials reached a deal to conserve and manage thousands of wild acres in Fentress County.
The expanse was previously held by an out-of-state speculative investment company likely originally tied to timber companies.
The Cumberland Plateau and escarpments have been increasingly recognized for their biodiversity along with the Smokies to the east beyond the Tennessee Valley. The Cumberlands are along a songbird and fowl migration route, and host a niche population of mature timber, mosses, lichens, fungi, mammals and amphibians. Elk were reintroduced a decade ago, and black bears have begun to range across the Cumberlands and their base.
The area is pocked with caves and sinkholes, some containing petroglyphs and other carvings from previous populations.
"On the Cumberland Plateau, the key to maintaining biodiversity is to retain as much natural forest (both managed and unmanaged) as possible," a forestry expert told the News Sentinel's Vincent Gabrielle.
The Foothills Land Conservancy has also helped protect thousands of acres along the plateau and its escarpments in recent years.
If you never thought there’d be an Asian carp commercial fishery in Tennessee waters, you were wrong.
Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s Asian Carp Harvest Incentive Program has yielded 10 million pounds of the exotic fish since 2018, the bulk caught downstream on the Tennessee River system at Kentucky and Barkly reservoirs. The fish has been spotted as far upstream as Knox and Anderson counties.
The Tennessee Valley Authority and TWRA are experimenting with acoustic barriers to prevent further upstream spread of the fish, which compete with native fish for food and habitat.
“There are four types of Asian carp: bighead, silver, black and grass,” WATE reported. “Experts say the species threatens to disrupt aquatic ecosystems and starve out native species due to their ability to out-compete native species for food like plankton.”
So what do fishermen do with 10 million pounds of carp?
It can be sold to wholesalers for distribution abroad and also makes for really good fertilizer.
The recovery of America’s bald eagles is one of the greatest environmental success stories of the past 50 years. From an estimated overall population of about 800 at the depth of their decline, they have rebounded to about 100,000 today living near water in Alaska, Canada and all of the lower 48 states.
Hellbender Press has covered the success story that brought our national symbol, the bald eagle, back from the brink of extinction.
The cause of that long-ago calamity was ferreted out with the help of an early citizen-scientist, a retired Canadian banker living in Florida named Charles Broley, who became interested in eagles and obtained a permit to band eaglets. Between 1939 and 1946 he banded a total of 814 of them in the nest before they fledged.
As the years passed Broley observed a population decline and initially thought habitat loss was to blame. But in an Audubon article he penned in 1958, Broley concluded, “I am firmly convinced that about 80 percent of the Florida bald eagles are sterile.”
But why? Broley was the first to speculate that the use of organochlorine pesticides, most notably dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, or DDT for short, was somehow the cause; but he had no proof and didn’t know how the chemical compound actually affected adult eagles.
Broley’s suspicions and others were brought to national attention by Rachel Carson in her landmark 1962 book, “Silent Spring.” DDT was outlawed in 1972 and the eagle population slowly began to recover.
And today? Bald eagles still face problems — both old and new.
The old one is lead poisoning.
This story was originally published by Tennessee Lookout
Marshall County, located outside what was once considered the boundary edge of growing suburbs circling Nashville, has seen explosive growth of its own in recent years — call it the Williamson County overflow effect, says County Mayor Mike Keny.
Drawn by more affordable housing, jobs and the rural character of the county — about an hour from Nashville in the “heart of the Southern Automotive Corridor” (as local economic development officials call it) — the influx of residents, and some relocating business and industry, has brought new urgency to a long-standing reality.
The county doesn’t have its own water supply. For decades, it has had to pay wholesale for drinking water from the cities of Murfreesboro and Lewisburg. That supply is no longer adequate.
A new proposal by county officials calls for building a water treatment facility along the banks of the Duck River in northern Marshall County capable of siphoning up to 6 million gallons of water per day; establish a reliable local water supply for decades to come.
(Part one in a series)
It was a damp morning in early spring 2005 when Paul James and I met Linda Claussen at Seven Islands Wildlife Refuge along the French Broad River in east Knox County. Heavy rains had fallen through the night, but the clouds were beginning to break. As we walked down Kelly Lane toward the river the vocalized yearnings of thousands of chorus frogs could be heard singing from the soppy floodplain along the river. Spring was definitely here.
The refuge itself was the brainchild of Linda’s late husband, Pete. In the late 1990s, he formed the Seven Islands Foundation, a privately owned land conservancy, and began setting aside property to be protected and restored to a variety of natural habitats. Most of the acreage had recently been fescue pasture maintained for grazing livestock and hay production.