OAK RIDGE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission heard updates on the quail research project on three focal areas and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s fish hatcheries among agenda items at the June meeting which concluded Friday.
Dr. Dave Buehler, from the University of Tennessee, gave an update on the quail research project including goals, anticipated timeline, and possible management implications. The project is studying quail on three focal areas: Kyker Bottoms, Bridgestone Firestone, and Wolf River wildlife management areas. The program includes documenting existing quail populations in the areas annually, the collection of date related to quail reproduction, survival, and habitat use.
Habitat conditions area documented on each of the focal areas. A habitat plan is being developed for each focal area. An evaluation of specific management practices over time will be conducted.
The project has met goals for quail capture and radio-tagging, documenting bobwhite activity, movements, habitat use, survival, and reproduction. Significant progress has been made on habitat management plans. The project has been a collective effort to bring attention to quail restoration in the state.
Frank Fiss, TWRA Fisheries Division chief, provided an overview of the Agency’s hatchery operations, recent expansions, and future plans. TWRA operates 11 fish hatcheries. The Agency works in conjunction with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at two other hatcheries in the state to stock at least 8 million fish in Tennessee waters each year.
While most fisheries do not require routine stocking, managers use hatchery fish to maintain several popular fisheries across the state. In fact, some fisheries are completely reliant on hatcheries, such as those for striped bass, hybrid striped bass, and walleye, and trout at some locations. Other fish are stocked to supplement naturally occurring populations, restore native species, or to modify population genetics.
The Boating and Law Enforcement presented Proclamation 21-05 with minor changes in language due to legislative law changes regarding gun carry. Also, three minor clarifications in language regarding sandhill crane hunting, trapping, and a wording change to meet Title 70 definitions.
A report was presented by the Tennessee Wildlife Federation on the Hunting and Fishing Academy. The program features recruiting new, retaining current, and reactivating past hunters and anglers.
The commission recognized the Tennessee Wildlife Federation on its 75th anniversary. TFWC chairman Jim Ripley read and presented a resolution to TWF CEO Mike Butler in observance of the milestone. The TWF is one of the largest and oldest organizations dedicated to the conservation of the state’s wildlife and natural resources.