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Tennessee Conservation License Plate grants benefit brook trout, stream quality, TN children

NASHVILLE -- Tennesseeans whose cars carry the Trout Unlimited Conservation License Plate have contributed to another series of grants supporting conservation projects and conservation education. This year’s grants total $32,860.

The Tennessee Council of Trout Unlimited (TU) announced the grants at its fall meeting Nov. 11. The awards include:
• $10,000 to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) to help pay lab fees for DNA tests on brook trout, to identify populations that are the true southern strain. The TU grant is matched by $10,000 each from TWRA and the U.S. Forest Service.
• $7,500 to the Appalachian Chapter TU, in cooperation with the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute and TWRA, for research into and propagation of Southern Appalachian Brook Trout. This is the third grant to the aquarium institute in Chattanooga; the money will support raising the native trout for release into Stoney Creek, about 15 miles northeast of Johnson City.
• $7,000 for the eighth annual Great Smoky Mountains Trout Adventure Camp for middle school girls and boys, sponsored by the Tennessee Council TU. The camp will be June 18-23, 2018, at the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont; for more information visit
• $5,000 for the Trout in the Classroom (TIC) program, supporting establishment of TIC projects throughout the state to teach youngsters in grades K-12 about aquatic habitats and creatures, and about the importance of preserving and protecting them. For more information, contact Lori Webb Paris, TIC coordinator, at
• $3,360 to the Overmountain Chapter TU, in cooperation with Southern Appalachian Highland Conservancy, for improvements on Hampton Creek in the Hampton Creek Cove State Natural Area. The project, to control runoff, prevent erosion and improve water quality, includes building a road and a stone ford so that livestock and equipment can approach the creek and cross it without disturbing the ecosystem.

The license plate program was developed in the mid-2000s by leaders of the Cumberland Chapter TU in Nashville, benefiting all eight Tennessee TU chapters. More than $160,000 in conservation grants has been distributed so far. Organizations interested in applying for grants should contact the TU chapter closest to them—for contact information, visit

The Conservation License Plate is sold by county clerks throughout the state. It would make a fine holiday gift for anyone dedicated to conservation or trout fishing—to order a $35 gift certificate, visit

The mission of the Tennessee Council TU, like that of Trout Unlimited nationally, is to conserve, protect and restore coldwater fisheries. Throughout Tennessee, the council leads advocacy efforts, fosters widespread understanding of the significance of the coldwater resource and nurtures chapter development and grassroots conservation.

Published November 21, 2017

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