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National Grant Fuels Habitat Enhancement and Watershed Protection at Soak Creek Farm

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The National Fish & Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) has awarded TennGreen Land Conservancy and partners a grant to conduct restoration activities on Soak Creek Farm and enhance its natural ecosystems. The Soak Creek Farm, approximately 2,000 acres of land on the Cumberland Plateau, was donated to TennGreen in 2020 by philanthropist George Lindemann. The property is located in Rhea and Bledsoe Counties and abuts the Justin P. Wilson Cumberland Trail State Park (the “Cumberland Trail”)—Tennessee’s first linear park. This remarkable land features a mosaic of forests and farmland and more than six miles of streams that flow into the Soak Creek State Scenic River.

The grants were awarded through the Cumberland Plateau Stewardship Fund, a partnership between NFWF and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and International Paper’s Forestland Stewards Partnership. TennGreen’s project partners include the Tennessee Division of ForestryAustin Peay State UniversityPanther Creek Forestry, and the Southeastern Grasslands Initiative.

The partners’ restoration activities are four-fold:

  • Prescribed burning for grassland and savanna habitat restoration and shortleaf pine preparation
  • Shortleaf pine planting
  • Hemlock Woolly Adelgid treatment on approximately 2,500 hemlocks on 48 acres of land along rivers and streams
  • Outreach and education opportunities via demonstration days and the creation of an educational video for landowners with similar habitats

This restoration work is essential to reestablish a landscape that was once extensive on the Cumberland Plateau. Grassland habitat is among the most threatened habitats on the planet. Since 1970, grassland bird populations have declined by 53%. By restoring and reestablishing grassland and savanna habitat on Soak Creek Farm, the partners will provide grassland birds with a large habitat area along the Cumberland Plateau, a major hot spot and a focal area in the Southeast.

Click here to learn more about TennGreen’s habitat restoration work.

 

Blue-colored bird perched on tree branch

The Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea) is one of Soak Creek Farm’s many feathered visitors. In Tennessee, it’s a summer resident and one of the most abundant breeding birds in the state.

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