Chattanooga will be home this week to the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission's first meeting outside of Nashville in 2018 and the panel's first return to the Scenic City since 2015.
The event, which will take place at the Westin Hotel on Pine Street, will start with committee meetings at 1 p.m. Thursday and continue at 9 a.m. Friday with a regular commission meeting, according to a Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency news release.
All meetings are open to the public.
Topics will range from deer disease and fishery habitat work to boating statistics and plans to address user conflicts on some of Tennessee's smaller rivers, officials said.
Deer and elk hunters can hear Greg Wathen, of TWRA director Ed Carter's office, give a report to the commission on the progress of the agency's chronic wasting disease response plan draft, officials said in the release.
The plan will address TWRA's goals of preventing the introduction of chronic wasting disease into Tennessee, design a risk assessment and system that will maximize early detection of the disease, minimize its impact in the event a positive test result for the disease is detected in Tennessee deer or elk and to develop an extensive communications strategy to address all aspects of outreach on the disease.
The disease has been detected in the neighboring states of Virginia, Missouri, Arkansas and most recently Mississippi, officials said. It is a fatal, highly contagious disease that affects the brain and nervous system of deer, elk and moose.
Other reports will include an update on the progress of the deer strategic plan. Focus group meetings have concluded for the deer strategic planning document, officials said.
Anglers can hear TWRA Assistant Fisheries Division Chief Jason Henegar's overview of the agency's ongoing habitat projects across the state, officials said. Fisheries Chief Frank Fiss will speak to the commission about the recently caught black crappie confirmed as a new state record that now is being considered for a potential world record.
Boating and Law Enforcement Division Chief Darren Rider will provide boating statistics from the July 4 holiday, Memorial Day and the 10th anniversary of "Operation Dry Water."
Assistant TWRA Director Chris Richardson will provide a status report on the ongoing elk raffle, officials said. Since the elk hunt was implemented in 2009, the agency has donated a permit to a non-governmental organization to join other participants who are chosen from a computer drawing. The raffle for the permit replaces an online auction previously held to determine the additional participant.
Officials said Richardson also will discuss TWRA plans to address the user conflicts on Tennessee's smaller rivers.