Monday, December 15, 2014 | 01:19 pm
Only the Second Increase Sought in 25 Years; New User Groups Asked to Contribute
NASHVILLE --- For only the second time in 25 years, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) is seeking to adjust the way hunting and fishing licenses and fees are structured in order to maintain its successful wildlife, fisheries and education programs. The proposal includes some incremental fee increases and the inclusion of new user groups.
It wasn’t too long ago that the sight of a white-tailed deer, a bald eagle or a wild turkey in Tennessee was a rare treat. These and other key wildlife and fish are now thriving across the state, thanks to intensive restoration and management by the TWRA.
“The reality is that managing our wildlife and fisheries has never been more expensive than it is today,” said TWRA Executive Director Ed Carter. “Our objective with this proposal is to spread the cost of these programs across more user groups who utilize Tennessee’s public lands and waters.”
This license fee change proposal is the first since 2005, and only the second to be sought since 1990. It’s also the smallest increase in the TWRA’s 65-year history. The Agency, which is funded almost exclusively by hunting and fishing licenses, boating registrations and federal excise taxes on related equipment, has seen operating costs increase dramatically. This includes everything from fertilizer to fish food and other essential expenses over the last 10 years.
The temperature was not quite 50 degrees Saturday morning April 5, 2014, but the air was calm and the sun was shining during our daylighting project on Sawmill Branch in the Cherokee National Forest. At 9:30 that morning, twelve Cherokee Chapter TU members met with three US Forest Service staff to remove vegetation and low hanging tree branches that blocked sunlight or otherwise impeded stream flow.
It did not take long to warm up once we all got started. Armed with two pole saws, several loppers and pruning shears, the group spent the morning clearing approximately ¼ mile of stream. The vegetation was moved up along the bank, away from the water so it could be reclaimed by mother nature. During the process several cans and bottles (a.k.a. trashus americanus) were found, which we took with us to dispose of properly.
The purpose of the daylighting project is to improve the riparian environment. Opening up areas of the stream choked by vegetation enhances water quality, flood mitigation and provides a more desirable habitat for brook trout.
The Sawmill Branch Daylighting Project is one of many community projects which Cherokee Chapter actively organizes and members participate.