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TWRA schedules July meeting

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TWRA Report

for The Roane County News

The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission will have its next meeting July 12-13 in Chattanooga. The TFWC will be holding its first meeting of the year away from Nashville and will be returning to the Scenic City for the first time since October 2015.

The downtown Westin Hotel will be the site for the meeting. Thursday’s committee meetings will begin at 1 p.m. (EDT). The regular commission meeting starts at 9 a.m., Friday. The public is invited to attend each day.

Among the agenda items, Greg Wathen, of the director’s office, will give a report to the commission on the progress of the TWRA chronic wasting disease (CWD) Response Plan draft. The plan will address the agency’s operation goals of preventing the introduction of CWD into Tennessee, design a risk assessment and system that will maximize early detection of the disease, minimize its impact in the event a positive CWD deer or elk is detected, and to develop an extensive communications strategy to address all aspects of outreach on CWD.

CWD has been detected in the neighboring states of Virginia, Missouri, Arkansas and most recently, Mississippi. CWD is a fatal, highly-contagious disease, which affects the brain and nervous system of cervids such as deer, elk and moose.

In other items, James Kelly will give an update on the progress of the deer strategic plan. Focus group meetings have concluded for the deer strategic planning document.

Jason Henengar, Assistant Fisheries Division Chief, will present a reservoir habitat update. It will be an overview of TWRA’s ongoing habitat projects across the state. Fisheries Chief Frank Fiss will speak to the TFWC about the recently-caught black crappie that is a new state record and is a potential world record.

Boating and Law Enforcement Division Chief, Darren Rider, will provide boating statistics from the July 4 holiday, Memorial Day, and the 10th anniversary of Operation Dry Water.

Assistant TWRA Director Chris Richardson will provide a status report on the ongoing elk raffle. Since the elk hunt was implemented in 2009, TWRA has donated a permit to a Non-Governmental Organization to join other participants who are chosen from a computer drawing. The raffle for the permit replaces an online auction previously held to determine the additional participant.

Richardson will also discuss TWRA future plans to address the user conflicts on Tennessee’s smaller rivers.