The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission heard presentations on a variety of topics at its first two-day meeting of the new year. The meeting concluded Friday.
The Commission welcomed back Dave Kostersky, a 31-year veteran of Ducks Unlimited Canada. He provided information on the organization’s partnership with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. He addressed the TFWC with accomplishments of habitat protection on more than 2,000 acres, habitat restoration on more than 5,100 acres, and the habitat management of more than 57,300 acres.
Dr. Brad Cohen, Tennessee Tech University, gave an update on the mallard research project. The field study is now in its third year on state and federal refuges in West Tennessee. More than 500 mallards have been banded to track the movement of the ducks. The study also includes hunting pressure and how other variables impact waterfowl.
Capt. Tim Sain from TWRA Region IV provided information on a request from the Doe Mountain Recreational Authority to develop the Northeast Tennessee Shotting Complex in Johnson County. The range would serve six counties in the region. The Commission also heard a request from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Foundation for improvements at the Montgomery County Shooting Complex. The facility offers fixed-distance archery, trap, skeet, sporting clays, pistol, steel pistol, 100 and 400-yard rifle ranges. The pistol/rifle ranges portion of the facility have been closed since 2021 due to safety concerns.
Outreach and Communications Division Director Emily Buck provided a preview of the 2021-22 TWRA Annual Report. The publication will feature Agency success stories and projects summaries from last year and will be available online when complete.
The Biodiversity Division discussed projects which included a pair of endangered species, the cracking pearly mussel and bluemask darter. A report was made on the upcoming removal of Harm’s Mill Dam. The dam ranked as one of the top eight removal sites in the nation and the TWRA was awarded funds for the project.
Michael Cavins was announced as the Shikar Safari Wildlife Officer of the Year for 2021. He serves in TWRA District 41 in East Tennessee. Hunter Daniels, who was announced last summer as the Tennessee Wildlife Officer of the Year for 2021 was present and introduced to the Commission.
The Boating and Law Enforcement division also recognized members of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, members of the 28th Tennessee Judicial District, Crockett County General Sessions Judge Paul Conley III, and Haywood County General Sessions Judge Jennifer Scott. The group helped the recently-graduated class of TWRA wildlife officers in training involving case preparation and court room procedures. Present at Friday’s meeting to be honored were Judge Conley, Judge Scott, who was with the 28th Judicial District and recently-elected judge of Haywood County, Assistant U.S. Attorney Christie Hooper, Assistant District Attorney Bill Hardegree and Assistant District Attorney Jacob London.
Nashville area businessman Earl Bentz was selected as the 2023 Legacy Award winner. He will be presented the award at a future TFWC meeting.