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.

 

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 Creates ESA Listing Workplan to Provide Predictability and Encourage Proactive Conservation of Imperiled Wildlife

As part of its ongoing efforts to improve the effectiveness and implementation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and provide the best possible conservation for our nation’s imperiled wildlife, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released today its National Listing Workplan for addressing ESA listing and critical habitat decisions over the next seven years.

News Release (.pdf)

 

Fish and Wildlife Service Conducting Five-Year Status Reviews of 22 Southeastern Species

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will conduct five-year status reviews of 15 endangered and seven threatened species occurring across the southeastern United States. The public is invited to provide information and comments concerning these species on or before October 31, 2016.

These reviews will ensure listing classifications under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) reflect the latest available information and data. In addition to reviewing the classification of these species, a five-year review presents an opportunity to track the species’ recovery progress, and may benefit species by providing valuable information to guide future conservation efforts.

News Release (.pdf)

 

Service Proposes Draft ESA Compensatory Mitigation Policy

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed a draft policy to provide Service personnel with direction and guidance in the planning and implementation of compensatory mitigation that the Service may recommend, require, or authorize for use under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The proposed ESA Compensatory Mitigation Policy (CMP) is the first comprehensive treatment of compensatory mitigation under authority of the ESA to be issued by the Service.

Read More

 

Conservation Partners Add 2,600 Acres to Bridgestone Firestone Centennial Wilderness

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) and The Land Trust for Tennessee are excited to announce the permanent protection of 2,600 acres within the historical Scott’s Gulf  — located in White and Van Buren Counties. The newly conserved property connects tens of thousands of acres of public recreation land in the area — including Bridgestone-Firestone Centennial Wilderness Wildlife Management Area (WMA), Virgin Falls State Natural Area, Fall Creek Falls State Park, Lost Creek State Natural Area and Bledsoe State Forest. The property also provides habitat for several rare and endangered species — including three federally listed species of bats as well as fish, mussels and plants. The long-reaching effects of this conservation project mark a major accomplishment for land and resource conservation in Tennessee.

 News Release (.pdf)

 

Services Revise Proposal for Improving Endangered Species Act Petition Process

In consideration of feedback from the public and stakeholder groups, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service (the Services) have revised their proposed improvements to the regulations governing the Endangered Species Act (ESA) petitioning process. The regulations guide how species are petitioned for listing, delisting or reclassification under the ESA, and how critical habitat is petitioned for revision. The proposed changes are designed to improve the quality of petitions the Service receives and promote better coordination with state wildlife agencies.

News Release (.pdf)

 

Four Southeastern Species Do Not Require Federal Protection, Two Others Under Further Review

Today the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published a batch of 90-day findings affecting a variety of species across the nation. Biologists have determined the following species found in the southeastern United States do not require further review for federal protection at this time:

  1. Cheoah bald salamander in North Carolina
  2. Monito skink in Puerto Rico
  3. Southern dusky salamander in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and possibly South Carolina
  4. South Mountain gray-cheeked salamander in North Carolina.


News Release (.pdf)

Read the 90 day finding on 29 petitions (.pdf)

 

Protections Finalized for Threatened Northern Long-Eared Bats

Northern Long-eared Bat
Northern Long-eared Bat. Photo by Pete Pattavina/USFWS

In an effort to conserve the northern long-eared bat, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced a final
rule today that uses flexibilities under section 4(d) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to tailor protections to
areas affected by white-nose syndrome during the bat’s most sensitive life stages. The rule is designed to protect
the bat while minimizing regulatory requirements for landowners, land managers, government agencies and
others within the species’ range.

“The overwhelming threat to the northern long-eared bat is white-nose syndrome,” said Service Director Dan
Ashe. “Until there is a solution to the white-nose syndrome crisis, the outlook for this bat will not improve. This
rule tailors regulatory protections in a way that makes sense and focuses protections where they will make a
difference for the bat.”

News Release (.pdf)

Final Rule (.pdf)

Questions and Answers (.pdf)

Key to the Northern Long-Eared Bat 4(d) Rule for Non-Federal Activities (.pdf)

Key to the Northern Long-Eared Bat 4(d) Rule for Federal Actions that May Affect Northern Long-Eared Bats (.pdf)

Northern long-eared bat sites in Tennessee map (.pdf)

Northern long-eared bat map

 

Emory, Clinch and Watts Bar Watersheds Habitat and Recreation Restoration Grant Program

Clinch River

In 2015, the Trustees for the Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) Kingston Fossil Plant (KIF) site, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), and the TVA were parties to settlement of a natural resource damages claim in accordance with the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA), § 107(a)(4)(C), 42 U.S.C. § 9607(a)(4)(C) that resulted in an Administrative Order on Consent with the TVA. A part of the Administrative Order on Consent obligates TVA to provide $750,000 to fund recreational and ecological environmental restoration in the Emory, Clinch and Watts Bar Watersheds. The funds have been paid into the Natural Resource Restoration Fund, and the Trustees have developed a process to manage selection and implementation of the environmental restoration projects. - Read More

 

Endangered Species Act Protection Not Needed for 10 Species in the Southeast

Atlanta, Ga. – The Cumberland arrow darter, Shawnee darter, Sequatchie caddisfly, American eel, and six Tennessee cave beetles do not need protection under the Endangered Species Act. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – upon reviewing the status of these 10 species – found their status to be stable, and in some cases much better than expected. The Service’s close partnership with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency were crucial to this positive announcement. “The species must face a threat large enough to cause a reduction in its range or the size of its populations, so that animals meet the definition of threatened or endangered,” said Southeast Regional Director Cindy Dohner. “Fortunately, that level of threat isn’t present for these species at this time and the populations are stable. It isn’t enough just to be rare.

News Release (.pdf)

Read the Rule (.pdf)

 

Fish and Wildlife Service Seeks More Information on Five Species

Today the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published a batch of 90-day findings in response to a variety of petitions to protect 25 species under the Endangered Species Act. Six of those species are found in the Southeast, and the petition for one species, the Cahaba pebblesnail, was found to be not substantial. The snail will not be given further consideration for federal protection at this time.

News Release (.pdf)

Read the Rule (.pdf)

 

Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes Adding White Fringeless Orchid to Threatened and Endangered Species List

White Fringeless Orchid

photo credit: Geoff Call

Cookeville, TN – Though the plant is found in five states, populations of white fringeless orchid are small, isolated, and face a wide array of threats across their range, leading the Fish and Wildlife Service to propose adding the plant to the federal list of threatened and endangered species as a threatened species. Because of the threat of collection, the Service will not designate critical habitat for this plant.

News Release (.pdf)

Read the proposed rule (.pdf)

 

Conserving Imperiled Aquatic Species in the Upper Tennessee River Basin

A team of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service scientists, with assistance from U.S. Geological Survey, have developed a collaborative conservation strategy examining cost-effective approaches for efforts to conserve and manage 36 imperiled freshwater fish and mussel species in the 22,360 square-mile Upper Tennessee River Basin. The strategy identifies aquatic species conservation objectives and recommends a management approach for conserving and recovering prioritized species and locations across the basin. It is designed to help the Service better integrate its efforts internally and with those of partners in North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia, whose missions complement the goal of maximizing conservation and recovery of imperiled aquatic species and the ecosystems upon which they depend.

 

Fish and Wildlife Service Announces $37.2 Million in Grants to Boost State Endangered Species Conservation Efforts - AL, AR, FL, NC, TN Receive Funding in Southeast

Painted Snake Coiled Forest Snail

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced $37.2 million in grants to 20 states to support conservation planning and acquisition of vital habitat for threatened and endangered species across the nation. The grants, awarded through the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund, will benefit numerous species, ranging from the Cahaba shiner to the red-cockaded woodpecker.  

Read the New Release (.pdf)

 

90 Day findings on 15 Petitioned Species of Reptiles and Amphibians

In response to a 2012 petition claiming 53 reptiles and amphibians require federal protection under the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) today published a batch of 90-day findings affecting 15 species of frogs, salamanders, snakes, skinks and crayfish found in the Southeast. Five petitioned species will not be given further consideration for federal protection at this time, and 10 species have triggered a deeper scientific review.

News Release (.pdf)

Read the Findings (.pdf)

 

Natural Resource Trustees Finalize the Restoration and Compensation Determination Plan for the 2008 Fly Ash Release at the Tennessee Valley Authority Kingston Fossil Plant in Roane County, Tennessee

fly ash spill

As part of a natural resource damage assessment being conducted under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), state and federal natural resource trustee agencies have investigated the ecological and human use impacts associated with the December 22, 2008 coal ash spill at the Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) Kingston Fossil Plant (KIF). This investigation focused on the natural resources and human uses of the Emory, Clinch, and Tennessee Rivers and Watts Bar Reservoir downstream to the Watts Bar Dam.  Trustees for injured natural resources include the State of Tennessee, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and the TVA.  TVA also is the responsible party at this site.

Read the plan (.pdf)

 

Fish and Wildlife Service Designates Critical Habitat for Two Freshwater Mussels in 12 States

rabbitsfoot mussel
Rabbitsfoot - USFWS

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has finalized critical habitat designations for the Neosho mucket and
rabbitsfoot mussels in rivers of 12 states under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
The final designations are smaller than those proposed nearly three years ago, and include a significant
change to what the Service proposed in Arkansas for the rabbitsfoot, reducing the designation there by 27
percent. The final critical habitat designations in Arkansas affect less than two percent of the state’s total
perennial stream miles as defined by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality.

News Release (.pdf)

Final Rule (.pdf)

 

 

 

Service Designates Critical Habitat for Three Endangered Plants

short's bladderpod and whorled sunflower images

Short's bladderpod - photo credit: John MacGregor
 
Whorled Sunflower - photo credit: Alan Cressler

 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is designating critical habitat for three endangered plants found in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee  This critical habitat designation becomes final on September 25, 2014, 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.  The plants, which were listed as endangered, on August 1, 2014, are the fleshy-fruit gladecress, whorled sunflower, and Short’s bladderpod.

News Release (.pdf)

Final Critical Habitat Rule (.pdf)

f you have questions or need more information, please contact Geoff Call in the Service’s Tennessee Field Office at 931-525-4983, or via e-mail at Geoff_Call@fws.gov.  For fleshy fruit gladecress, please contact Shannon Holbrook in the Service’s Alabama Field Office at 251-441-5871, or via e-mail at Shannon_Holbrook@fws.gov

 

Service Protects Three Plants Under Endangered Species Act

Three rare plants found in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee are now protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  This protection becomes final on September 2, 2014, 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.  The plants, which are listed as endangered, are the fleshy-fruit gladecress, whorled sunflower, and Short’s bladderpod.

Short’s bladderpod is found in Posey County, Indiana; Clark, Franklin, and Woodford Counties Kentucky; and Cheatham, Davidson, Dickson, Jackson, Montgomery, Smith, and Trousdale Counties. Tennessee.  The whorled sunflower is found in Floyd County, Georgia; Cherokee County, Alabama, and Madison and McNairy Counties, Tennessee.  The fleshy-fruit gladecress is found in Lawrence and Morgan Counties, Alabama.

News Release (.pdf)

Final Listing Rule (.pdf)

If you have questions or need more information, please contact Geoff Call in the Service’s Tennessee Field Office at 931-525-4983, or via e-mail at Geoff_Call@fws.gov.  For fleshy fruit gladecress, please contact Shannon Holbrook in the Service’s Alabama Field Office at 251-441-5871, or via e-mail at Shannon_Holbrook@fws.gov.

 

Fish and Wildlife Service conducts five-year status reviews of 33 southeastern species

painted snake coiled forest snail

painted snake coiled forest snail - photo credit: David Withers, TDEC

The Service is initiating 5-year reviews for 33 southeastern species, including 5 species for which the Tennessee Ecological Services Field Office will be preparing the reviews.  The Tennessee species are:

painted snake coiled forest snail (Anguispira picta)
Cumberland elktoe (Alasmidonta atropurpurea)
yellow blossom (Epioblasma florentina florentina)
green blossom (Epioblasma torulosa gubernaculum)
tubercled blossom (Epioblasma torulosa torulosa)

A 5-year review considers the best scientific and commercial data that have become available since the current listing determination or most recent status review of each species.  See the Federal Register notice announcing the initiation of these 5-year reviews for a description of the kinds of information that the Service is seeking as we prepare these reviews.

News Release

Federal Register notice

 

Enduring Investments
North Chickamauga Creek Gorge State Natural Area

North Chickamauga Creek

A picturesque view of bluffs along Cain Creek with chokeberry in the foreground

During September and October of 2013, staff from the Tennessee Ecological Services Field Office enjoyed opportunities to assist botanists from the Tennessee Division of Natural Areas – Natural Heritage Program as they monitored populations of Virginia spiraea (Spiraea virginiana) in Tennessee.  This species is found in the states of Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia on flood-scoured cobble and boulder bars and bedrock outcrops, shaped by streams draining the rugged terrain of Southern Appalachia.  One such place where botanists monitored this species is North Chickamauga Creek Gorge State Natural Area – a place with a story that demonstrates the importance of partnerships for recovering species listed under the Endangered Species Act.   Read more

 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes Endangered Status for the Northern Long-eared Bat: Listing Not Warranted for Eastern Small-footed Bat

Northern Long-eared Bat
Photo credit: Steve Taylor; University of Illinois

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes to list the northern long-eared bat as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.  The Service also determined that the eastern small-footed bat does not warrant listing.
The northern long-eared bat is found across much of the eastern and north central United States, and all Canadian provinces from the Atlantic Ocean west to the southern Yukon Territory and eastern British Columbia.  

News Release (.pdf)

Proposed Rule (.pdf)

 

Service Finalizes Listing of Two Freshwater Mussels and Designation of Critical Habitat

slabside pearlymussel and fluted kidneyshell

photo credit: Brett Ostby

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is listing the fluted kidneyshell and the slabside pearlymussel as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  These two mussels are only found in portions of the Cumberland and Tennessee River systems of Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Virginia. 

News Release (.pdf)

Final Listing Rule (.pdf)

Final Critical Habitat Rule (.pdf)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) (.pdf)

Economic Analysis (.pdf)

Coordinates for Fluted Kidneyshell critical habitat stream segments (.pdf)

Coordinates for Slabside Pearlymussel critical habitat stream segments (.pdf)


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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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

 

Documents and Notices


Bald Eagle Management Guidelines and Conservation Measures

Windpower Guidance for Bald Eagle Management

 

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Last updated: September 13, 2016
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