Division of Natural Areas

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s (TDEC) Division of Natural Areas (DNA) answers questions and provides technical assistance pertaining to the status and distribution of state and federal concern plant and animal species, ecologically important sites, and conservation lands. For maps, publications and program information, visit our website at: http://www.tn.gov/environment/section/na-natural-areas.

Many project managers seek TDEC-DNA’s review through environmental consultation requests. The term “environmental consultation” includes but is not limited to environmental review requests, phase I or II environmental site assessment investigations, or requests for information for projects in the scoping phase for planned preparation of an Environmental Assessment or Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).1

What types of projects are suitable for environmental consultation from TDEC-DNA?

The majority of environmental consultation requests from DNA are related to rare and endangered plant and animal species review. Projects suitable for environmental consultation from DNA may include any project involving construction, demolition, or disposal of solid and/or hazardous wastes and on-the-ground development projects. These can involve individual landowners, development districts across the state, or other government or private entities.

Requests for consultation pertaining to any of the aforementioned purposes should be submitted to TDEC-DNA via their Environmental Review Request Portal. TDEC-DNA DOES NOT COORDINATE ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEWS VIA EMAIL. The review fee will be waived for reviews of projects affiliated with TNECD (ARC, CDBG, Select TN Site Certification). Make sure to identify the correct project coordinates (or midpoint of a linear project) with your submittal as incorrect location information will lead to processing delays.

More information about environmental reviews for TDEC-DNA can be found here: https://www.tn.gov/environment/program-areas/na-natural-areas/na-environmental-review.html 

What should I include in my request to TDEC-DNA?

When submitting a request for environmental consultation to DNA, the following information will expedite our review:

  • Detailed description of the project.
  • Map showing the project location with latitude and longitude labeled.
  • Photographs, if available.
  • If the project relates to existing or requested TDEC permits, please include the relevant permit number/s.

When should I expect to hear from TDEC-DNA?

Environmental review requests usually are filled within 30 days. Urgent requests will be handled as quickly as possible. Please recognize that requests involving state or federally protected animals require consultation with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, respectively. While we will consult with these agencies during our review, you are advised also to contact them directly for guidance.

What should I expect to receive from TDEC-DNA?

DNA will review the details of the project and provide comments that may include:

  • A list and/or map of rare species documented within a one-mile radius of the project area, as well as a list of species documented from the surrounding four-mile area
  • Summary of potential impacts to rare species and any issues or concerns identified during the review
  • Recommendations for best management practices or actions to reduce potential impacts or address concerns with the proposed project
  • Contacts for relevant outside agencies, as warranted or requested

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If a draft Environmental Assessment or draft Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to NEPA has been developed, it should be sent with all supporting materials and a request for review to TDEC.NEPA@tn.gov.

Who should I contact for more information?

Dillon Blankenship is the primary TDEC-DNA contact for environmental consultations. He can be reached via phone at 615-532-4799. 

This Page Last Updated: March 3, 2022 at 7:52 AM