Trees are budding, flowers are blooming, and it’s time for landowners to consider improving riparian buffers, planting trees, and improving forest stands. The Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s Division of Forestry (TDF) can help landowners near the Duck and Elk Rivers increase land value, enhance water quality, and maintain healthy woods through the Duck and Elk Watershed Initiative.
“The Duck and Elk Rivers are aquatic conservation priorities in Tennessee and the Southeast,” State Forester David Arnold said. “Working with woodland owners to maintain healthy forests and improve wildlife habitat for aquatic and upland hardwood wildlife species through this initiative helps us protect Tennessee forests.”
The Duck and Elk Watershed Initiative provides cost share assistance and free technical support that will increase land value, enhance water quality, and maintain healthy woods. Applications are accepted from May 1 to May 31. Landowners should contact their Area Forester to determine eligibility and to schedule an onsite evaluation. The program is for landowners in the 13-county watershed of Bedford, Coffee, Dickson, Franklin, Giles, Hickman, Humphreys, Lewis, Lincoln, Marshall, Maury, Moore, and Williamson Counties.
TDF conducts free site visits and consults on an action plan for improving the watershed. The visit includes site evaluation, planning, and mapping after which practices will be scheduled between July 2022 and May 2023. Eligible activities include tree planting, forest improvement, invasive plant management, and prescribed burning.
Landowner participation in forestry activities meet some eligibility requirements of forest certification through the American Tree Farm System, the United States’ oldest family forest certification program.
Funding for the watershed initiative is provided by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and is in cooperation with the Tennessee Forestry Association and the American Forest Foundation.
Contact your local TDF Area Forester to take advantage of the Duck and Elk Watershed Initiative. An area Forester directory can be found here: www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/agriculture/documents/forestry/AgForAreaForesterMap.pdf.