By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
A $50,000 grant from the TVA Ag & Forestry Fund will help the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Fisheries & Wildlife program restore wildlife habitat on the Tribal Reserve. The project was one of 20 selected during the first grant cycle which totaled $578,450.
The TVA Ag & Forestry Fund was created by WNC Communities which was selected by N.C. Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (NCDA&CS) to implement the grant. Grants were distributed to 17 counties of western North Carolina.
“Because we are trying to make significant impacts with a very limited amount of manageable land, the EBCI is continually striving to maximize production of beneficial habitat for species of native flora and fauna,” said Forrest Parker, EBCI Natural Resources & Construction director. “Funding, such as the NCDA&CS grant, allow us to manage invasive species, while enhancing populations and conditions of native and beneficial ones.”
Examples of some of the other projects funded include:
- NCSU Dept. of Biology – Averting a Fish Health Crisis in WNC
- NCSU Dept. of Entomology – Breeding Pest Resistance into Fraser Firs and Hemlocks
- Haywood Community College – Geothermal Chilling for WNC Farms
- McDowell Economic Development Association – Foothills Pilot Plant Equipment and Sustainability Program
“Many of our lands, especially Tribal Reserve, were managed for commercial timber previously,” Parker noted. “Thus, there is a severe lack of mast bearing trees to provide food for wildlife. Also, enhancements will provide more opportunity for culturally important species to thrive. Projects such as oak plantings on Tribal Reserve provide a future for wildlife and also our Cherokee artisans.”
Linda Lamp, TVA Ag & Forest Fund, related, “The proposal from the EBCI’s Fisheries & Wildlife Management reminded us that diverse wildlife populations are intricately tied to the identity of the EBCI. The TVA Ag & Forest Fund is honored to provide funding to sustain culturally significant resources to enhance wildlife populations for generations to come.”