Wildfire management project set for East Tennessee

Appalachian Mountains generic

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Federal conservation officials say a watershed restoration and forestry management project is planned in a large section of east Tennessee.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service says in a news release that the Nolichucky and Upper French Broad Joint Watershed Restoration Project will encompass 1 million acres of land in the southern Appalachian Mountains, including Cocke, Greene, Washington and Unicoi counties.

Project goals include reducing wildfire threats to communities and landowners, protecting water quality and supply for communities, and improving habitats for at-risk species.

The NRCS says golden-winged warblers, shortleaf pine, table mountain pine, and oaks are in decline in the region due to fire suppression and land management practices.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is investing more than $12 million this year in 12 other similar projects.

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