Tennessee's Revised State Wildlife Action Plan Receives Federal Approval

Friday, July 8, 2016

The Tennessee State Wildlife Action Plan Comprehensive Revision was approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) on June 10. The Tennessee State Wildlife Action Plan or TN SWAP is an important conservation tool for natural resource and land managers, and other experts who are dedicated to conserving the state’s most vulnerable wildlife.

This approval follows a nearly two year-long collaborative and strategic effort led by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to obtain input from a wide variety of conservation groups, federal, state and municipal agencies, and other stakeholders. These partner agencies and organizations are critical to the identification and prioritization of at-risk species and habitats, and conservation actions to help protect and conserve species of concern that the SWAP documents.

TWRA revises the State Wildlife Action Plan every 10 years, as mandated by USFWS. The TN SWAP features a regional approach to conserving Tennessee’s unique and complex landscapes and ecosystems, drawing on the most up to date scientific information. While the SWAP is not a regulatory document, it does inform conservation priorities. In addition to the conservation strategies for priority habitats and wildlife species, the comprehensive review and update also addresses climate change vulnerability, a key component that was not addressed in the original 2005 SWAP version.

The state’s eligibility for certain types of grant funding is dependent upon having an approved SWAP. Approval of the SWAP by USFWS provides the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) access to $850,000 in Congressionally-appropriated State Wildlife Grants to support programs that benefit at-risk species, such as the eastern hellbender, that live in clean, clear water streams, and the cerulean warbler, found in old-growth, higher elevation forests, as well as many others.

The Tennessee State Wildlife Action Plan is available online at www.tnswap.com.

For highlights of some of the projects that TWRA’s Regional Wildlife Diversity staff are working on, click here.

To learn more about the 2015 TN SWAP, Tennessee’s conservation goals and the measures necessary to recover endangered species, restore unique habitats, keep rare and imperiled species off the endangered species list, and to keep common species common, visit the Tennessee State Wildlife Action Plan site or contact Bill Reeves, chief of Biodiversity at 615-781-6645 or bill.reeves@tn.gov.


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