Michael Neal Joins TWRA In Battle Against Aquatic Nuisance Species

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Professional bass angler, Michael Neal joined Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) in the fight to stop the spread of aquatic nuisance species in Tennessee waterways. Neal travels with the FLW Tour and fishes throughout Tennessee and the U.S. Having fished his entire life, he’s seen the effects of ANS and hopes to bring attention to the issue.


ANS include any non-native species, plant or animal, which has a negative impact on the environment, economy and public health.

Some of the commonly known ANS in Tennessee include Asian carp, zebra mussels and hydrilla.  ANS are spread primarily through human activities such as emptying ballast water, dumping bait buckets, using dirty fishing gear and intentional release. The impacts are shocking. According to the ANS Task Force (2011), a national group overseeing the impact, education and control of ANS, “The costs to control and eradicate invasive species in the U.S. alone amount to more than $137 billion annually.”


Sport fishing in Tennessee was estimated to have $1.1 billion dollar impact across the state in 2001 (U.S. Fish &Wildlife Service).  
Neal recognizes the impact ANS can have not just on bass fishing, but the rich diversity of Tennessee’s waters. Neal stated, “TWRA does a great job managing our fisheries; but without everyone’s involvement to stop the spread of ANS, their job is much harder. He continued, “Tennesseans are rich in water and diversity. We have beautiful places to fish and boat. Why not join in the effort to care for it?” Neal has filmed public service announcements for the agency and added the ANS logo on his boat and truck.


TWRA Region 3 reservoirs crew and the Region 3 streams crew have worked diligently to educate and provide means to stop the spread of ANS. The reservoirs crew shares the message Clean Drain Dry and more with high school fishing teams. They provide a free seminar and hands on learning activities that invite these teams to protect our resources. The streams crew has partnered with the U.S. Forest Service and Tellico Plains High School to provide gear cleaning stations for anglers. So far, two have been installed with an additional 10 ready to be placed throughout the region. 

Additionally, TWRA leaders participate on national committees to ensure leading research is implemented.


The burden of this issue weighs heavily on TWRA and the agency is grateful to partner with Michael Neal, other states and organizations to stop the spread of ANS. However this issue is truly in the hands of the public. Individual actions have the ability to affect our waters and the agency encourages all recreational users to join in the battle. Visit stopaquatichitchhikers.org to learn more.



Reflection Riding Holds Spring Native Plant Sale This Weekend

Reflection Riding is holding its Spring Native Plant Sale selling the region's best selection of trees, shrubs, and perennials.  Here is the schedule: Friday: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. - Public Sale Saturday: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. - Public Sale and Earth Day Festival.  Native plants, grown for a variety of garden conditions, are beautiful, sustainable, and contribute ... (click for more)

TWRA Congratulates Tennessee Wildlife Federation On Award

A strong advocate for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, the Tennessee Wildlife Federation has been honored with a prestigious national award. The Federation has been named the 2018 Affiliate of the Year by the National Wildlife Federation in recognition of its outstanding achievement in promoting conservation of wildlife and natural resources on the state and national level. ... (click for more)

Robert Gillisse Was Pilot Killed In Plane Crash At Collegedale Airport

The pilot who was killed in a plane crash on the runway of the Collegedale Airport on Friday evening has been identified as Robert Gillisse, 62, of Ooltewah . Charles Swain, who is the director of the airport, said the plane was a total loss. It was a single-occupant plane. He said the plane was taking off when it crashed. He said Mr. Gillisse frequently had flown out of ... (click for more)

East Ridge To Build Open-Air Pavilion Near City Hall

East Ridge plans to construct an open-air pavilion that will include restrooms and a concession area near City Hall and the old McBrien School.  It will be part of a Town Center for East Ridge at the Tombras Avenue property. The city is also applying for a $500,000 grant to help convert Pioneer Park into a refurbished park with a splash pad. The firm of Hefferlin and ... (click for more)

A Tribute For My Brother – Sgt. Jonathan Gardner, U.S. Army

Seven years ago today, my family and I found out that my brother, Sgt. Jonathan D. Gardner, was seriously injured by a roadside bomb, (explosively formed penetrator - EFP), while on a mission in Kuwait. The EFP went through the bottom of his seat and put a softball size hole in his upper thigh. The doctors said that if the bomb had entered the Humvee an inch to the right, he ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

All of us who marvel at the sound of bagpipes at a funeral realize the majesty that people like piper Scottie Maclellan can lend to any “homecoming” and for years there has been a wonderful tale out of Nova Scotia that leads this week’s parade of The  Saturday  Funnies. Mind you, I do not write these stories, as many who have followed man’s laughter down through the ... (click for more)