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Wildlife Habitat in Tennessee

More than 90% of the land in Tennessee is privately owned.  To successfully manage our state’s wildlife resources, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) must work cooperatively with private landowners across the state.  Many landowners desire property that is welcoming to wildlife species and some may need technical assistance to accomplish their goals and vision. 

TWRA has Wildlife Habitat Biologists throughout the state whose primary job is to assist landowners with technical assistance and managing their property for wildlife.  See below for a link to these biologists and also to articles on specific management techniques.   We’d love to speak to you, visit your property and assist you in reaching your wildlife goals! 

Landowner Resources

Contact a Wildlife Habitat Biologist

TWRA has partnered with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) for over a decade.  This partnership has helped to establish tens of thousands of acres of wildlife habitat in TN through our Wildlife Habitat Biologist and Partner’s positions. The majority of habitat programs and funding are from Farm Bill programs administered through the USDA system.  To be most effective, TWRA Wildlife Habitat Biologists are housed within USDA NRCS offices.

Private Lands Management & Assistance

TWRA-habitat-biologist-map
Chris Hunter,  TWRA
USDA-NRCS Building
1179 S. Dupree Ave
Brownsville, TN 38012
Chris.Hunter@tn.usda.gov  
(731) 772-2965 Ext. 3017
Clint Borum, TWRA
USDA-NRCS Building
315 John R. Rice Blvd.
Murfreesboro, TN 37129
Clint.Borum@tn.usda.gov(
615) 893-9295  Ext. 111
 
Michael McCord, TWRA
USDA-NRCS Building
900 S. Walnut Ave.
Cookeville, TN 38501
Michael.McCord@tn.usda.gov
(931) 528-6472 Ext. 110
Stephen Thomas, TWRA
USDA-NRCS Building
1105 East Jackson Blvd, Hwy 11E, Suite 3
Jonesborough, TN 37659
Stephen.Thomas@tn.usda.gov
Cell: 865-201-9187
Office: 423-788-2018
Brittney Viers-Scott, Quail Forever
630 High Street
Huntingdon, TN 38344
731-209-4153 Ext. 115
Brittney.Viers@tn.usda.gov 
 
  Josh Turner, Quail Forever
1008 East End Road
Manchester, TN 37355
931-728-2472 Ext. 3
Joshua.W.Turner@tn.usda.gov
 
 
Gordon Counts, Quail Forever
791-B Tennessee Street
Bolivar, TN 38008
731-658-3631 Ext. 3
Gordon.Counts@tn.usda.gov
 
     

Additional Contacts

USDA NRCS Staff:  https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/tn/contact/local/

TN Quail Forever Staff: https://www.quailforever.org/Habitat/findBiologist.aspx   

TN Division of Forestry Staff:  https://www.tn.gov/agriculture/forests/staff-directory.html

TN Division of Forestry Landowner Assistance:   https://www.tn.gov/agriculture/forests/landowners.html

Wildlife Habitat Articles and Videos

Field/ Food Plot Management

Managing Old Fields

https://extension.tennessee.edu/publications/Documents/PB1855.pdf

Guide to successful Food Plots

https://extension.tennessee.edu/publications/Documents/PB1769.pdf

Promoting Early Successional Habitat

https://ag.tennessee.edu/fwf/craigharper/Documents/ConsPractoPromoteEarlySuccHabitat.pdf

Prescribed Fire in Southern Ecosystems

https://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/pubs/su/su_srs054.pdf

Management Recommendations for Native Insect Pollinators

https://tpwd.texas.gov/publications/pwdpubs/media/pwd_bk_w7000_1813.pdf


Forest Management

Identification Guide to the Trees of Tennessee  https://www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/twra/documents/treeidguide.pdf

Glossary of Common Forestry Terms

https://extension.tennessee.edu/publications/Documents/W428.pdf

Conducting a Simple Timber Inventory

https://extension.tennessee.edu/publications/Documents/PB1780.pdf

Managing Vegetation in Hardwoods with Herbicides

https://www.nrs.fs.fed.us/pubs/gtr/gtr_nrs96.pdf

Prescribed Fire in Southern Ecosystems

https://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/pubs/su/su_srs054.pdf

Establishment and Management of Pines

https://extension.tennessee.edu/publications/Documents/PB1751.pdf

Identification and Control of Non-native Invasive Forest Plants

https://extension.tennessee.edu/publications/Documents/SP627.pdf


Wetland Management

Wetland Functions and Values

https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-02/documents/wetlandfunctionsvalues.pdf

Landowner Guide to Wetland Habitat Management

http://www.ducks.org/media/Conservation/GLARO/_documents/_library/_landowner/Landowner_Guide.pdf

Waterfowl Habitat Management Handbook

http://extension.msstate.edu/sites/default/files/publications/publications/p1864.pdf

Wetland Restoration, Creation and Enhancement

https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-02/documents/wetlandrestoration.pdf

Moist Soil Management Guidelines for the Southeast

https://www.fws.gov/columbiawildlife/MoistSoilReport.pdf

Protecting Riparian Areas: Farmland Management Strategies

attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/download.php?id=115 

Habitat Management Videos

The northern bobwhite quail is Tennessee’s state game bird and historically was a prominent game bird across the southeastern United States. Unfortunately, due to the large scale loss of farmland, changes in agriculture, and increases in forest land, quail habitat has been reduced or eliminated. As a result, the northern bobwhite population in the U.S. has been on a decline.

The TWRA has designated four of its wildlife management areas (WMAs) to serve as anchors within a quail focus area. The four WMAs are: Wolf River WMA (Fayette County), Bark Camp Barrens WMA (Coffee County), Bridgestone/Firestone Centennial Wilderness WMA (White County), and Lick Creek Bottoms (Greene County).

The anchor areas act as reserves where wildlife management efforts are focused on maximizing ideal habitat and conditions to foster healthy quail populations. As the quail population increases, it should expand out into the surrounding focus area if suitable habitat exists. The focus area is comprised of private and other public lands that have the potential to provide suitable quail habitat.

Landowners interested in improving their lands for quail should contact their local TWRA or Quail Forever Habitat Biologist.  These biologists will meet with landowners or property managers and develop a habitat management plan at no charge and provide other advice, such as programs that can provide financial assistance for creating and managing wildlife habitat.