Proposed Paint Rock River National Wildlife Refuge
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Proposed Paint Rock River National Wildlife Refuge


 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is studying the potential for a National Wildlife Refuge in southeast Tennessee. The Service’s National Wildlife Refuge System is the world’s premier system of public lands and waters set aside to conserve America’s fish, wildlife and plants.

The Paint Rock River is one of the last free-flowing rivers in the Southeastern United States. A tributary of the Tennessee River, it lies in the Cumberlands Plateau region of Alabama and Tennessee. Three tributaries to the Paint Rock River (Larkin Fork, Estill Fork, and Hurricane Creek) originate in Franklin County, Tennessee. From there, the river flows south through several counties in Alabama to join the Tennessee River near the town of New Hope. The area within the watershed consists primarily of forested hills with agricultural production occurring in the valleys and floodplains adjacent to the river and its tributary streams.

The proposed establishment of a National Wildlife Refuge in the Paint Rock River watershed is one of two America’s Great Outdoors (AGO) priorities identified in Tennessee in the AGO’s November 2011 Fifty-State Report. This project also has the support of Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and aligns with several AGO goals, including large landscape conservation, enhanced river access, and support for creative public-private partnerships.

Fish and wildlife have been shown to be economically important nationwide. According to the report, “Banking on Nature 2006: The Economic Benefits to Local Communities of National Wildlife Refuge Visitation,” nearly 35 million people visited national wildlife refuges in Fiscal Year 2006, generating almost $1.7 billion in total economic activity and creating almost 27,000 private sector jobs, producing about $542.8 million in employment income. Throughout Tennessee, over 3.5 million participants engaged in one or more of three wildlife related recreation activities (fishing, hunting, wildlife watching) during 2006 and spent over two billion dollars.

 


Public Meeting: April 10, 2013


The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service has developed a Draft Land Protection Plan and Environmental Assessment for the proposed establishment of Paint Rock River National Wildlife Refuge. A public meeting will be held on April 10, 2013, to answer questions you may have about the proposed establishment.

Where: Franklin County High School Auditorium 833 Bypass Road, Winchester, TN 37398

When: April 10, 2013 5:30 PM – 9:00 PM

Agenda:
5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. - Open House
7:30 p.m. - Presentation on the proposal
8:00 p.m.- 9:00 p.m. - Questions and Answer Session

This public meeting will give you an opportunity to:

  • View a presentation summarizing the proposal and addressing some of the known concerns.
  • Discuss the proposed establishment.
  • Ask questions.
  • Provide written comments about the proposed establishment.

For more copies of the plan: You may request additional copies of the draft document by contacting the refuge at: Oliver van den Ende, Refuge Planner, Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge, 2700 Headquarters Rd., Decatur, AL 35603 or you can download a copy here.

Comment Due Date: Submit your written comments by May 3, 2013 to be considered in the development of the final document.

Send your comments to: Oliver van den Ende, Refuge Planner Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge, 2700 Headquarters Rd., Decatur, AL 35603 paintrockriver@fws.gov

It is the Service’s policy to purchase real interest in land from willing sellers only.

 


Draft Environmental analysis and land protection plan available for comment


March 27, 2013

We are pleased to announce the public review of the Draft Land Protection Plan and Environmental Assessment (Draft LPP/EA) for the proposed establishment of Paint Rock River National Wildlife Refuge.

The assessment outlines the actions proposed to conserve and protect the area's aquatic biodiversity, hardwood forests, migratory birds, and water resources in Franklin County, Tennessee. In the assessment, two alternatives and their potential impacts on the environment are evaluated.

We welcome any comments you have concerning this proposal. To be considered in the preparation of the final Environmental Assessment/Land Protection Plan, your comments (in writing) must be received no later than May 3, 2013.

Comments on the draft documents, requests for further information, or requests for paper copies / CDs of the documents should be directed to: Oliver van den Ende, Project Planner, Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge, 2700 Refuge Headquarters Rd., Decatur, Alabama 305603; telephone 256/353-7243, Ext. 28; or paintrockriver@fws.gov

Download the Draft Environmental Assessment/Land Protection Plan in its entirety (.pdf 3 MB)

Download individual portions of the Draft Environmental Assessment/Land Protection Plan:

Sections of the Draft Environmental Assessment are listed below:

 


Schedule for the Proposed Paint Rock River National Wildlife Refuge Project


  • December 2012 – January 2013: Service to develop draft Land Protection Plan and environmental documents
  • February 2013: Service to host public information meetings to determine interest in the project and recommendations
  • April 2013: Proposed Public comment period on the draft documents
  • June 2013: Service to submit documents to Washington Office for final decision

 

 

A verdant spring

Lost Spring by the Tennessee Chapter of The Nature Conservancy.



Map of the project area

Map of the project area. See full-size.

 

Last updated: April 2, 2013