The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission will hold its final 2023 meeting Thursday and Friday, Dec. 7-8, in Gatlinburg at the Margaritaville Resort. Committee meetings begin Thursday at 1 p.m., with full Commission proceedings continuing on Friday at 9 a.m.
Josh Campbell, TWRA biodiversity division chief, will present the Threatened and Endangered Species rule for a Commission vote. Mr. Campbell previewed the rule at the TFWC October meeting. There are currently 144 species in Tennessee listed as endangered, threatened or in need of management.
The proposal includes the removal of 27 species and the addition of 28 to the list.
Among other agenda items, the Commission will hear a pair of black bear presentations. Bill Stiver, supervisory wildlife biologist with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, will discuss the results of a research project the park is completing. In recent years, the park has fitted relocated bears with GPS radio collars to assess survival and movement of bears after release.
Dan Gibbs, black bear coordinator for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, will discuss how the GSMNP research information can assist with the Agency’s goal of implementing proactive approaches to reduce human-bear conflicts. He will also provide an update on human-bear conflicts for the calendar year through mid-November, as well as updates to the city of Gatlinburg’s efforts to address issues with bears accessing dumpsters. Mr. Gibbs will also present the results of a recent survey of Tennessee residents regarding opinions of bears and bear management.
TWRA Region IV Fisheries Manager Jim Habera will provide an update on Southern Appalachian brook trout restoration. The Southern Appalachian brook trout have faced declines, primarily due to deforestation and introductions of non-native trout. The Agency will also recognize the Hiwassee Chapter of Trout Unlimited for its donation to the Region III Fisheries Program.
TWRA will also present a check from the proceeds of breast cancer awareness pink patch hat sales to Casting for Recovery, a non-profit dedicated to enriching the lives of breast cancer patients and survivors through fly fishing events.
The full agenda is available on the TWRA website on the Commission page. The meeting will also be live streamed and available and archived on the Commission page.