Habitat Management

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!  

Private Lands Management & Assistance

Landowner Resources

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.

Wildlife Habitat Biologist Location Map
Christopher Hunter,  TWRA
USDA-NRCS Building
1179 S. Dupree Ave
Brownsville, TN 38012
731-772-2965 Ext. 3017
Clint Borum, TWRA
USDA-NRCS Building
811 Hatcher Lane
Columbia, TN 38401
Office: 931-548-3434
Cell: 615-202-0536
Richard Underwood, TWRA
USDA-NRCS Building
900 S. Walnut Avenue
Cookeville, TN 38501
Office: 931-526-6472 (ext. 110)
Cell: 931-213-4742
Stephen Thomas, TWRA
USDA-NRCS Building
1105 East Jackson Blvd, Hwy 11E, Suite 3
Jonesborough, TN 37659
Cell: 865-201-9187
Office: 423-788-2018
Alex Tamboli, Quail Forever
Farm Bill Biologist
630 High Street
Huntingdon, TN 38344
731-418-6107 Ext. 115
Collin Stanley, Quail Forever
Farm Bill Biologist
791-B Tennessee Street
Bolivar, TN 38008
731-658-3631 Ext. 3
Cell 615-881-9606
Paul Underwood, Quail Forever
Farm Bill Biologist
Coffee County, NRCS Field Office
1008 East End Road
Manchester, TN 37355
Cell: 865-304-6251
Jacob Taylor, Quail Forever
Precision Agriculture Consultation Specialist
Cell: 731-487-2234
RCPP Grasslands Initiative
Jeremy French, Quail Forever Southeastern Grassland Initiative
311 College St.
Clarksville, TN 37040
Brittney Viers-Scott, Quail Forever
Grasslands RCPP Coordinating Biologist
Southeastern Grasslands Initiative
311 College Street
Clarksville TN 37040
RCPP Priority Counties:
NRCS Partner Foresters  
Dustin Stutts
National Wild Turkey Federation
4730 New Harvest Ln.
Knoxville, TN. 37918
Ben Shamblin
National Wild Turkey Federation
USDA Service Center- Columbia
811 Hatcher Ln.
Columbia, TN 38401
931-388-1307 Ext. 3430
David Lowman
Quail Forever Coordinating Forester
White County, NRCS Field Office
751 Millers Point Road
Sparta TN 38583
Cell: 615-337-7619

Additional Contacts

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.

Quail Focal Areas in Tennessee

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

Quail Focal Areas
Click on the map for a larger view,

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.

Northern Bobwhite Management in Tennessee 2021-2026, A Strategic Plan for Northern Bobwhites in Tennessee