News Release
Southeast Region


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Paint Rock River Refuge Proposal Available for Review and Comment

Public Meeting in Franklin County

April 2, 2013


Additional Resources:


A small waterfall surrounded by verdant greenery and mossy rocks

Lost spring at Paint Rock River. Photo used with permission of: Tennessee Chapter of the Nature Conservancy.


The draft plan for the proposed establishment of Paint Rock River National Wildlife Refuge is available for review and comment by the public.  U.S. The Fish and Wildlife Service also announced an upcoming public meeting on April 10, 2013, in Winchester, Tennessee. 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Draft Land Protection Plan and Environmental Assessment outlines the actions proposed to conserve, protect, and enjoy the area's water quality, hardwood forests, migratory birds, and aquatic biological diversity in Franklin County, Tennessee. In addition to helping others conserve this great landscape, the Service also seeks to provide wildlife-dependent recreation and educational opportunities.

“The proposed National Wildlife Refuge in the Paint Rock River watershed is one of two America’s Great Outdoors priorities identified by the State of Tennessee in the Department of Interior’s November 2011 Fifty-State Report,” said David Viker, Refuge Chief, who supervises 129 refuges in the Service’s Southeast Region “This is a stunningly beautiful part of the country with a rich array of wildlife.  We are hopeful the community will support this opportunity to create a conservation legacy for us all and our generations to follow.”

The Service would work with communities and willing landowners only to establish the proposed refuge through several methods, including fee simple or conservation easement purchases, and/or cooperative agreements with willing landowners. The goal is to work with partners and willing landowners to protect up to 25,120 acres for the refuge.

Funding for this project would be provided through the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which comes from monies collected from the sale of offshore oil leases. It is the principal source of funding for land acquisition for the purposes of protecting threatened or endangered species and natural resources.

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. Still mostly forested, the area within the upper watershed includes flat-topped hills, with steep slopes leading to rocky streams.

The public is encouraged to review this proposal and make any comments in the preparation of the final Environmental Assessment/Land Protection Plan by May 3, 2013.

In the Environmental Assessment, two alternatives (Alternative A: No Refuge and Alternative B: Proposed Action to Establish Refuge) and their potential impacts on the environment are evaluated.

For more information, and to review these documents please visit:

Written 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

Paint Rock Public Meeting Announcement

A public meeting will be held on April 10, 2013. This meeting will give the public an opportunity to view a presentation summarizing the proposal and address some of the known concerns, discuss the proposed establishment, have questions answered, and provide written comments about the proposed refuge.

Where: Franklin County High School Auditorium, 833 Bypass Road, Winchester, TN 37398
When: April 10, 2013 -  5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (CDT)
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


The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit Connect with our Facebook page at, follow our tweets at, watch our YouTube Channel at and download photos from our Flickr page at


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Last updated: April 2, 2013