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TWRC to meet

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The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Commission will convene for the final time of the calendar year when it meets Dec. 1-2 in Gatlinburg. The meeting will be held at the Clarion Inn and Suites.

Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Wildlife Division Chief, Greg Wathen, will update commission members on the State Wildlife Grants program (SWG). SWG is a program that was implemented in 2000 to provide critical funding in support of fish and wildlife that are rare and on the decline. Since the program began, the TWRA has been allocated more than $10 million which has been used to enhance TWRA’s non game wildlife conservation programs across the state. Many of the projects funded with the program’s funds have provided important habitat for all wildlife.

To participate in the SWG program, each state wildlife agency was required to develop a State Wildlife Action Plan. Tennessee’s plan has been recognized as one of the best plans in the nation due in large part to the partnership that TWRA formed with The Nature Conservancy. In recognition of the 10-year anniversary, presentations will be made at the meeting from The Nature Conservancy and the American Eagle Foundation, two partners who have aided in securing funds for the program.

Among other items on the agenda, a project overview and status report for the Elizabethton Fish Hatchery will be made. The commission will hear a report on the status of hellbenders in Tennessee. The hellbender is the largest amphibian in North America.

 Committee meetings will begin at 1 p.m. (EST) on Dec. 1. The commission meeting will start at 9 a.m. on Dec. 2. The public is invited to attend.