TFWC Updated On Chronic Wasting Disease, Boating Statistics, Endangered Species, And Budget Process

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission heard updates on chronic wasting disease (CWD), Tennessee’s In Need of Management, Threatened, and Endangered Wildlife Listing, boating statistics, and budget process during its July meeting.

The two-day session concluded Friday and was held at the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s Region II Ray Bell Building.

Chuck Yoest, assistant chief of the Wildlife and Forestry Division, provided a follow-up presentation to previous presentations on CWD.

Mr. Yoest shared that 25 states now have CWD, but, thankfully, after many years of ongoing sampling by TWRA, the disease is still not known to exist in Tennessee.  While CWD is not known to be present in Tennessee, the potential threat it poses to deer and elk populations and to hunting, is momentous.

CWD is passed through the environment to deer and elk, and by direct contact with bodily fluids of positive animals. There are no known cases of humans contracting CWD. 

Mr. Yoest informed the commission on risk factors for spreading CWD including:  captive deer and elk, infected, hunter-killed carcasses being transported into Tennessee by out-of-state hunters, and the potential of hunters accidentally introducing CWD through the usage of deer urine-based lures commonly used for hunting.  Also, regarding these risk factors, Yoest shared regulatory actions taken in other states which, if adopted by the commission, may reduce the likelihood of the disease reaching Tennessee.

Pandy English, the acting chief of TWRA’s Biodiversity Division, made a presentation to the commission. The TWRA is updating its state list of In Need of Management, Threatened, and Endangered Species. She explained each of these categories to the commission.

In Need of Management species are those animals that need research conducted to determine their rareness. Threatened species are those animals in jeopardy of becoming endangered. Endangered refers to species that may become extinct or extirpated from the state.  Wildlife biologists from universities, non-government organizations, zoos and TWRA have compiled the list using best available science, expert opinion and the federal list of endangered species,

The list includes 219 species (96 state endangered, 39 state threatened and 84 in need of management species). The purpose of this list is to guide the work of nongame biologists across the state.  It prioritizes the species which need the most management.  The ultimate goal is to remove Tennessee species from the federal Endangered Species List and to prevent further listing of Tennessee’s Species of Greatest Conservation Need. 

Glenn Moates, assistant chief in the Boating and Law Enforcement Division, gave an update on boating statistics that included two of the major weekends for the boating season, Memorial Day and Independence Day. There were no boating-related fatalities during the holidays.

The Independence Day holiday was a five-day period that began on Friday, June 30 and continued through Tuesday, July 4. There were five accidents reported during the period, resulting in four injuries. TWRA officers made 20 boating under the influence (BUI) arrests during the period.

Thus far in 2017, there have been eight boating-related fatalities. Three of the fatalities were paddle craft incidents.

TWRA Executive Director Ed Carter explained the lengthy process involved in establishing the agency’s annual budget. The commission has six new members this year. The budget committee will hold a meeting at the Nashville Office conference room on Monday, Aug. 14 beginning at 7:30 a.m. The 2018-19 budget will be presented at the regular TFWC meeting Aug. 29-30 at the TWRA Region II Building. 

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)

Jury Clears Juvenile Judge Philyaw Of Discrimination Charge In Dismissal Of Openly Gay Magistrate

A federal jury deliberated about an hour on Tuesday afternoon before ruling in favor of Juvenile Court Judge Rob Philyaw, who had been sued by an openly gay magistrate that he dismissed. Judge Travis McDonough had dismissed the other two defendants - Court Administrator Sam Mairs and Hamilton County - from the case at the close of the proof. Judge Philyaw said, "I thank the ... (click for more)

Attorney Elliott Says City Council Action On Mountain Creek Zoning Case "Highly Irregular And Highly Illegal"

The City Council on Tuesday night took action on a Mountain Creek zoning case, though attorney Sam Elliott said it was "highly irregular and highly illegal." The council voted 7-2 to instruct the city attorney to file a new zoning case on a section of the former Quarry golf course against the wishes of the owner of the property and the developer who plans to buy it. Attorney ... (click for more)

Why Can't Someone Unstop The Water Buildup Problem At The I-24 Cummings Highway Exit? - And Response

Exit 174 on westbound Interstate 24 is closed again as is the westbound entrance ramp. Cummings Highway is shut as well. I inquired at TDOT on Dec. 28, 2015, why this continues to happen. The engineer’s response was that the drain from ground west of the interstate runs under private land and cover over it has caused that pipe to collapse. Obviously flow still goes through, ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: ‘We’ll Lose The Senate!’

A guy who I admire and respect wrote me yesterday. He had just read my story defending Bob Corker for honoring “The Code” due to his true friendship with Phil Bredesen. He is also no stranger to my vivid dislike of the Republican choice to replace Corker in the Senate. Marsha Blackburn is no match against Bredesen on any tier and it is clearly the Republican Party itself that has ... (click for more)