Tennessee Ecological Services Field Office
Southeast Region
Map of the Southeast Region

Welcome to Tennessee Ecological Services Field Office


The Tennessee Field Office provides assistance to Federal and State agencies, local governments, businesses, and the general public relative to conserving, protecting, and restoring habitat for migratory birds and federally threatened and endangered species. Our assistance is typically provided through six programs: pre-development consultation, federal permits and projects, endangered species, environmental
contaminants, partners for fish and wildlife, and education/outreach.


Thanks to conservation partnerships, two southeastern fish and a snail do not warrant Endangered Species Act protection

Following extensive scientific reviews, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has determined that three southeastern animals do not face the threat of extinction now or in the foreseeable future. Accordingly, the ashy darter, Barrens darter and Arkansas mudalia snail do not warrant Endangered Species Act (ESA) protection. Read more

A boost in the Barrens

Barrens topminnows are small, colorful fish that live only in a few springs and creeks in central Tennessee. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed listing the fish as endangered. Photo by Emily Granstaff, USFWS.

Partners for Fish and Wildlife works with cattle company to improve habitat for topminnows, darters and mussels - read the story


Service proposes to list the eastern black rail as threatened under the Endangered Species Act

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners are working to protect a small, secretive marsh bird that is in steep decline. Some populations of the eastern black rail along the Atlantic coast have dropped by as much as 90 percent, and with a relatively small total population remaining across the eastern United States, the Service is proposing to list the subspecies as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). More information


Recovery plan for endangered Chucky madtom available

The final recovery plan for the Chucky madtom, a federally listed endangered small catfish, is now available.

The Chucky madtom lives in a single tributary of the Nolichucky River in East Tennessee. Threats to the species
include loss of habitat, small population size, inability to offset mortality with natural reproduction, and their resulting
vulnerability to natural or human-induced catastrophic events, such as droughts and pollution.

Full News Release

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conducts five-year status reviews of 35 Southeastern species

Pyne's ground plum

As part of the process mandated by the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will conduct five-year status reviews of 35 endangered or threatened fish, wildlife, and plants. These species are found in the Southeastern United States and Puerto Rico.

The public is invited to provide information and comments concerning these species on or before July 6, 2018.

These five-year reviews will ensure listing classifications under the ESA are accurate and recommend changes in status where appropriate based on the latest science and analysis. In addition to reviewing the classification of these species, a five-year review presents an opportunity to track the species’ recovery progress. It may benefit species by providing valuable information to guide future conservation efforts.

Information gathered during a review can assist in making funding decisions, consideration related to reclassifying species status, conducting interagency consultations, making permitting decisions, and determining whether to update recovery plans, and other actions under the ESA.

See the full story


Cumberland darter draft recovery plan available

Photo Credit: Conservation Fisheries Inc.

The Cumberland darter is a pencil-sized fish that lives in the Upper Cumberland River Basin in Kentucky and Tennessee.  It is endangered and protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is releasing a draft recovery plan for the fish.  The public is invited to submit comments concerning the draft recovery plan through June 4, 2018.   The Cumberland darter lives in pools and shallow runs of streams with sand-covered river bottoms in that basin.  Threats include a variety of impacts such as sedimentation, disturbance of riparian corridors, and changes in channel structure.  More

Draft Recovery Plan


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes endangered status for Barrens topminnow

The Barrens Plateau is home to a beautiful, iridescent fish that rarely grows longer than four inches and is found in only a few creeks and springs in four Tennessee counties. That little fish is now in trouble, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to help protect it as an endangered speciesunder the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

The Barrens topminnow has suffered from introduction of the non-native western mosquitofish, which has invaded the minnow’s habitat, outcompeting it for food and directly preying on young topminnows. That and the impact of drought mean the minnow is struggling to survive. More...


Endangered and Threatened Species: 90 Day Findings for Five Species

tri colored bat photo

More research is needed on three species before U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials can determine whether to add them to the threatened and endangered species list.

More scientific and commercial information will be compiled for the Venus flytrap, located in the Carolinas; oblong rocksnail, located in Alabama; and tricolored bat, located in 38 states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

News Release


Endangered Species Act protections not needed for Southeastern fish and crayfish

A crayfish found in sinkholes and freshwater spring caves in the Florida panhandle and a small fish found in clear headwater streams of the Upper Barren River System in Kentucky and Tennessee, do not warrant listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Conducting scientifically rigorous Species Status Assessments for both, the Service found that the populations for each are stable and healthy, adequate regulatory mechanisms are in place for each, and neither face the threat of extinction now or in the foreseeable future.

Full Story


In the Race Against Extinction, Rusty Patched Bumble Bee is Listed as Endangered

rusty patch bumble bee

Just 20 years ago, the rusty patched bumble bee was a common sight, so ordinary that it went almost unnoticed as it moved from flower to flower, collecting nectar and pollen. But the species, now balancing precariously on the brink of extinction, has become the first-ever bumble bee in the United States -- and the first bee of any kind in the contiguous 48 states -- to be declared endangered.

News Release (.pdf)

Final Listing Rule (.pdf)


Recovery Plan Available for Endangered Laurel Dace

laurel dace image

Photo Credit: Conservation Fisheries, Inc

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is announcing the final Recovery Plan for Laurel Dace, a federally listed endangered fish.  The laurel dace is a small fish native to the Tennessee River Basin in Tennessee that survives in three creek systems on the Walden Ridge of the Cumberland Plateau.  The final recovery plan for this endangered fish describes actions that may be necessary for the laurel dace’s recovery, establishes criteria for downlisting the fish to threatened and ultimately delisting it, and estimates the time and cost for implementing necessary recovery actions. The goal for this recovery plan is to conserve and recover populations of laurel dace to the point that listing under the Endangered Species Act is no longer necessary.

News Release (.pdf)

Recovery Plan (.pdf)


Chucky Madtom Draft Recovery Plan Available for Review

chucky madtom
Photo credit: Conservation Fisheries Inc.

The Chucky madtom’s recovery now has a road map and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is looking for your input before it is finalized to be sure it gives conservationists the best chance to ensure the rare catfish once again thrives in East Tennessee.

A comment period for interested citizens, landowners, scientists, conservation groups, and businesses, will open on November 1, 2016, and close on January 3, 2017.

“The Chucky madtom is extremely rare and hard to find in the wild with most likely fewer than 100 remaining,” said Leopoldo Miranda, the Service’s Assistant Regional Director for Ecological Services in the Southeast Region. “We will be working closely with private landowners and communities where madtoms live along with state and federal agencies, universities, and conservation groups to find other possible populations and protect its habitat."

News Release (.pdf)

Draft Recovery Plan (.pdf)

Species Biological Report (.pdf)

Recovery Implementation Plan (.pdf)


Sherwood Forest Conservation Effort Protects Endangered Wildlife Habitat and Local Jobs

Sherwood Forest
Photo Credit: Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation

On November 10, 2016 The Conservation Fund and The Land Trust for Tennessee, in partnership with the State of Tennessee, announced the protection of 4,061 acres of forestland in the South Cumberland region. With funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF)—through both the U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Legacy Program and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund—more than eight miles of streams in the Crow Creek Valley and vital habitat for more than one-third of all the federally threatened painted snake coiled forest snails known to exist have been conserved.

News Release (.pdf)

View the map (.pdf)


Southeastern Orchid Placed on Federal Threatened and Endangered Species List

Cookeville, Tenn. – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is adding the white fringeless orchid to the federal list of threatened and endangered species, as a threatened species to protect and conserve the rare plant.

While the orchid is found in six Southern states – Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, and Mississippi - populations are small, isolated, and face a wide array of threats across their range. Because of the threat of collection, the Service is not designating critical habitat for this plant.

The listing follows the September 2015 proposal to protect the orchid. The Service has considered the orchid a candidate for the threatened and endangered species list since 1999, and in 2004 was petitioned by an outside group to add it to the list of protected species.

News Release (.pdf)

Read the Rule (.pdf)

white fringeless orchid



Service Identifies Habitat Essential to Five Endangered Southeastern Fishes

Chucky madtom
Chucky madtom - photo credit: Conservation Fisheries Inc.

After reviewing and incorporating information from the public and the scientific community, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today identified approximately 228 river miles and 29 acres of critical habitat in, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama; and Arkansas, that contain aquatic habitat essential to the conservation of the Cumberland darter, rush darter, yellowcheek darter, Chucky madtom, and laurel dace, five species of fish protected by the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

News Release (.pdf)

Final Rule (.pdf)




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Tools for
Project Review

online project review tool



Endangered Species List
by County, Quadrangle or Watershed

Threatened and Endangered Species in Tennessee

Check for the presence of Endangered Species in your project area with IPac

Scope for wetlands in your project area with the National Wetlands Inventory Mapper

Critical Habitat
What is Critical Habitat? (.pdf)
Critical Habitat Mapper

USFWS Clearance to Proceed with Projects letter


Emergency Consultations


Documents and Notices

Bald Eagle Management Guidelines and Conservation Measures

Windpower Guidance for Bald Eagle Management


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Last updated: April 4, 2019
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