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Paint Rock River Basin Initiative

Paint Rock River Basin Initiative

Traci George, LIP Coordinator

On August 7th, Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne announced that nearly $19 million in competitive funding was awarded to 37 states, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands fish and wildlife agencies under the Bush Administration's innovative Landowner Incentive Program (LIP). Funded through the Land and Water Conservation Fund, LIP is a Federal grant program that is made available through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This source of funding assists private landowners in conserving, managing or enhancing the habitats of wildlife species in greatest conservation need. The Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries serves as a proud recipient of its first LIP on-the-ground restoration grant for private lands.

This funding will support the submitted project proposal that will establish the Middle Tennessee River Basin Habitat Restoration Initiative, to work with private landowners and positively impact degraded aquatic habitat and selected caves in the Alabama portion of the Tennessee River basin. The Tennessee River Basin is considered the most biologically diverse river basin in North America. The Alabama portion of the basin is home to 163 fish species, 90 freshwater mussels and 66 aquatic snails. The Alabama Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy identifies 115 species in greatest conservation need for the middle Tennessee River basin. Initial efforts will be concentrated in the Paint Rock River watershed and the adjoining forested mountains of the Southern Cumberland Plateau. This three year project plan will build on and expand an existing collaborative endeavor, led by The Nature Conservancy, which has identified and restored some degraded sites in the upper Paint Rock River and tributaries.

LIP project objectives include addressing high priority habitat conservation needs identified in the Paint Rock River basin focus area:

  • Improve streamside habitat and riparian forest buffers and other buffer strip habitats within the Paint Rock River basin focus area.
  • Install gates/fences, with signage, to minimize human access and disturbances for the protection of 9 GNC species.
  • Construct up to fish passages at low water crossings for vehicular traffic for the benefit of 37 mussel, fish and crayfish in greatest conservation need.
  • Provide suitable brood and reintroduction habitat for aquatic GCN species for propagation and restoration by the Alabama Aquatic Biodiversity Center.
  • Greatly expand protection and restoration efforts for aquatic and subterranean habitats and ecological processes in the middle Tennessee River basin and surrounding Southern Cumberland Mountains.

 


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