Partnering for Wildlife Habitat
More than 90% of the land in Tennessee is privately owned. To successfully manage our state’s wildlife resources, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) must work cooperatively with private landowners across the state. Many landowners desire property that is welcoming to wildlife species and some may need technical assistance to accomplish their goals and vision.
TWRA has Wildlife Habitat Biologists throughout the state whose primary job is to assist landowners with technical assistance and managing their property for wildlife. See below for a link to these biologists and also to articles on specific management techniques. We’d love to speak to you, visit your property and assist you in reaching your wildlife goals!
Contact a Wildlife Habitat Biologist
TWRA has partnered with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) for over a decade. This partnership has helped to establish tens of thousands of acres of wildlife habitat in TN through our Wildlife Habitat Biologist and Partner’s positions. The majority of habitat programs and funding are from Farm Bill programs administered through the USDA system. To be most effective, TWRA Wildlife Habitat Biologists and most Quail Forever Farm Bill Biologists are housed within USDA NRCS offices. The map below indicates office locations and contact information for the listed partner biologists, and county colors reflect the four NRCS administrative areas that the TWRA Wildlife Habitat Biologists are assigned to.
Christopher Hunter, TWRA
Clint Borum, TWRA
Richard Underwood, TWRA
Stephen Thomas, TWRA
|Alex Tamboli, Quail Forever
Senior Farm Bill Biologist
Carroll County, NRCS Field Office
630 High Street
Huntingdon, TN 38344
|Josh Breitung, Quail Forever
Farm Bill Biologist II
Hardeman County, NRCS Field Office
791-B Tennessee Street
Bolivar, TN 38008
|Collin Stanley, Quail Forever
Farm Bill Biologist III
Obion County, NRCS Field Office
1216 Stad Avenue
Union City, TN 38261
|Jacob Taylor, Quail Forever
Precision Agriculture Conservation Specialist
Madison County, NRCS Field Office
313 N Parkway
Jackson, TN 38305
Brittney Viers-Scott, Quail Forever & NRCS
|Paul Underwood, Quail Forever
Senior Farm Bill Biologist
McMinn County, NRCS Field Office
320 Congress Parkway N
Athens, TN 37303
Macon Girdley, Quail Forever
|Jillian Tramel, Quail Forever
Grasslands and Grazing Coordinator
Robertson County, NRCS Field Office
5024 Highway 41 N
Springfield, TN 37172
|Cat Carter, Quail Forever
Grasslands Outreach Coordinator
|David Lowman, TWRA
Habitat Specialist Crew Lead
Cumberland County, TWRA Field
NRCS Partner Foresters
|Ben Shamblin, NRCS
NRCS Area II Office
315 John R. Rice Blvd
Murfreesboro, TN 37129
Cell: (615) 522-8972
USDA NRCS Staff: https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/tn/contact
TN Quail Forever Staff: https://www.quailforever.org/Habitat/findBiologist.aspx
TN Division of Forestry Staff: https://www.tn.gov/agriculture/forests/staff-directory.html
TN Division of Forestry Landowner Assistance: https://www.tn.gov/agriculture/forests/landowners.html
Agency Well-Represented at NWTF Annual Convention
TWRA had a strong presence at the Annual National Wild Turkey Federation Convention held at the Opryland Resorts and Convention Center. NCRS representatives were available to answer questions and provide information for landowners. TWRA private lands biologists who were present at the NWTF Convention to answer inquiries from landowners, pictured left are Richard Underwood, Stephen Thomas, Clint Borum, and David Lowman.
The northern bobwhite quail is Tennessee’s state game bird and historically was a prominent game bird across the southeastern United States. Unfortunately, due to the large-scale loss of farmland, changes in agriculture, and increases in forest land, quail habitat has been reduced or eliminated. As a result, the northern bobwhite population in the U.S. has been on a decline.
The TWRA has designated five of its wildlife management areas (WMAs) to serve as anchors within a quail focal area (see map below.) They are Wolf River WMA (Fayette County), Bark Camp Barrens WMA (Coffee County), Bridgestone/Firestone Centennial Wilderness WMA (White County), Kyker Bottoms WMA, and Lick Creek Bottoms WMA (Greene County).
The anchor areas act as reserves where wildlife management efforts are focused on maximizing ideal habitat and conditions to foster healthy quail populations. As the quail population increases, it should expand out into the surrounding focus area if suitable habitat exists. The focal area is comprised of private and other public lands that have the potential to provide suitable quail habitat. The Wolf River WMA is a focal area for the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative, a multistate initiative of 22 states that are working to increase quail numbers.
Landowners interested in improving their lands for quail should contact their local TWRA or Quail Forever Habitat Biologist. These biologists will meet with landowners or property managers and develop a habitat management plan at no charge and provide other advice, such as programs that can provide financial assistance for creating and managing wildlife habitat.
Kyker Bottoms Refuge Quail Management
Northern Bobwhite Management in Tennessee
The Northern Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) is the state game bird of Tennessee and an important part of the state’s landscape and heritage. Northern Bobwhite populations have declined dramatically range-wide since the 1950s, primarily due to landscape-scale habitat conversion and loss.
Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) collaborates with a myriad of partners to foster robust, self-sustaining Northern Bobwhite populations by enhancing existing and developing new habitats across the state.
The vision of this plan is: To rebuild, manage, and monitor Northern Bobwhite populations in suitable habitats while partnering with stakeholders and continuously evaluating conservation efforts with an adaptive management approach.