outdoors

Thousands of Asian carp dying in TN lakes; TWRA investigating

News release from Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency

NASHVILLE — Boaters may have noticed recently that there is a large number of fish dying along the shoreline throughout Kentucky and Barkley lakes, an occurrence that the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is aware of and investigating.

The dead fish are silver carp, an invasive species that can negatively impact native fish and recreational boating. Because of these threats, the TWRA has been working to stem their expansion into new waters.

“While we are trying to learn how to slow or stop their expansion, the recent die-off of thousands of fish for whatever reason has occurred naturally,” noted Frank Fiss, Chief of TWRA’s Fish Division.

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TDEC adds 1,058 acres to South Cumberland State Park

News release from Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation

MARION COUNTY, Tenn. – The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), in partnership with The Conservation Fund, The Land Trust for Tennessee and the Open Space Institute (OSI), today announced the addition of 1,058 acres to South Cumberland State Park in Marion County. The acquisition connects more than 7,000 acres of protected public land, conserves forestland and cove habitat from future development, and protects scenic views on the Fiery Gizzard trail.  Continue reading

Joe McCord to lobby for TN Wildlife Federation

News release from Tennessee Wildlife Federation

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Wildlife Federation, an independent nonprofit that is one of the largest and oldest dedicated to the conservation of Tennessee’s wildlife and natural resources, is enhancing its Conservation Policy program with the addition of Joe McCord.

McCord most recently served as chief clerk for Tennessee House of Representatives from 2011 to 2017. In collaboration with the Federation, he will provide significant state legislative support to the Federation’s Conservation Policy program, which has been a staple of the organization’s operations for more than 70 years.

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Congress approves fed assessment of outdoor recreation (similar TN move afoot)

Congress has approved and sent to President Obama’s desk the “Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact Act of 2016,’which requires the federal government to assess the nation’s outdoor recreation impact and its effect on the overall U.S. economy, reports the Times-Free Press.

The bill directs the Commerce, Agriculture and Interior departments to work through the Bureau of Economic Analysis to conduct the analysis. The resulting report is due to be handed to several congressional committees within two years. The Outdoor Industry Association calls the Rec Act “breakthrough legislation” that could result in positive policy trends for the outdoors.

The OIA has estimated outdoor recreation to be a $646 billion industry. Passage of the Rec Act ensures there will be government-sanctioned statistical reports on the industry on a par with others tracked by the Department of Commerce.

… Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., who once chaired the President’s Commission on American Outdoors, grew up hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains. In a statement, he praised Tennessee’s “proud tradition” of protecting lands and heritage while increasing tourism and bringing in money from around the world.

“I look forward to the Commerce Department’s report on the economic benefits of the Great American Outdoors,” Alexander said.

Note: Legislation calling for a Tennessee state government assessment of outdoor activities with an eye toward the future was introduced in the General Assembly last session and passed the Senate unanimously, only to fail in the House Budget Subcommittee. The state had a similar assessment back in 1986, prompted by then-Gov. Alexander. Leaders of the Tennessee Wildlife Federation, which  pushed the idea, have indicated an intent to try again in 2017.