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TWRA Deputy Director: Community Feedback Stopped Proposed Cut

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
TWRA Deputy Director: Community Feedback Stopped Proposed Cut

TWRA Deputy Director Chris Richardson said the decision to stop the White County harvest project is based on community feedback not science.

A letter Richardson sent to State Senator Heidi Campbell Wednesday serves as the first public confirmation. Campbell also serves on the State Senate’s Energy, Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.

Richardson said the action comes in response, “To the community’s opposition only and is not based on the science or what’s best for wildlife.”

Richardson said the community feels like the agency has not been, “Transparent,” in its plan. However during repeated public meetings, the lack of communication was rarely mentioned.

Local officials and residents voiced concerns on the impacts to tourism, recreation opportunities and TWRA profiting from the cutting instead.

The called-off project pertains to the, “Farm Unit,” on the north side of the area. Richardson said TWRA ,”Will move forward on the proposed habitat projects on the southern portion,” of the Bridgestone Firestone Wilderness Area.

“In future management decisions we will continue to engage with the public, and we will continue to be mission-driven, science-driven and data-driven in our decision making,” Richardson said. “The management plans that we have for converting closed canopy forest into other critical and diverse habitats are going to continue in Tennessee.”

The original plan included a total of six plots to become quail habitat over three to five years. The north side or, “The Farm,” would have changed in 825 acres. The south side or the, “Big Bottom,” which is still happening according to Richardson, will yield 1,221 acres.

According to Richardson, the science confirms a critical need for savanna like environments.


The post TWRA Deputy Director: Community Feedback Stopped Proposed Cut appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.