The Tennessee Ornithological Society
photo of bird

About UsPublications and other literatureEventsBirding in TennesseeContact UsHome

TOS logo



The TOS Board of Directors established the Conservation Policy Committee at the 2002 TOS Fall Meeting. This committee will study environmental issues of importance to Tennessee birdlife, and develop policy recommendations. These recommendations must be approved by the Board of Directors (or, in an emergency, by the Executive Committee) in order to become official TOS policy. The committee has six members, including the chairperson, with renewable annual terms. Committee members are:
Melinda Welton, co-chair Dick Preston, co-chair
Vickie Henderson Cyndi Routledge
Chuck Nicholson Chris Sloan

TOS members are encouraged to bring conservation issues to the attention of the Committee and are invited to participate in developing policy recommendations with the Committee. Click here to send an email to all committee members. Click here to send an email to the committee co-chairs.

Below is a listing of some of the issues the Committee has addressed and copies of the adopted policies, issues statement, or similar product. Most of these documents are in PDF format and require Adobe Acrobat Reader.

TOS Conservation Policy Positions have addressed the following topics:

-- Proposed Rule Changes to Endangered Species Act Section 7 Consultation Regulations - The US Fish and WIldlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service are proposing changes to the interagency consultation regulations (see Federal Register 73:37868-47875, 2008). The TOS opposed the rule changes in comment submitted October 15, 2008.

-- Reauthorization of the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act - The TOS sent letters on October 4, 2008 to Tennessee Senators and House Members requesting them to support S 3490 and HR 5756.

-- Use of the Pesticide Carbofuran - The TOS submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency on September 29, 2008, supporting the ban on the use of the pesticide carbofuran.

-- Proposed Hunting Season on Sandhill Cranes - In response to a resolution adopted by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Commission at its March 2008 meeting endorsing the establishment of a hunting season on Sandhill Cranes in Tennessee, the TOS adopted the following position statement at its annual meeting on April 26, 2008:

"The Tennessee Ornithological Society does not at this time endorse a hunting season on Sandhill Cranes. While crop depredation may be a problem, we believe other management techniques to reduce depredation and slow the crane population growth should be fully implemented prior to the opening of crane hunting. These include active efforts to reduce the short-stopping and concentrating of cranes. We also support research on the economic impact of both crop depredation and crane-watching."

This position statement was drafted by the Conservation Policy Committee and, after discussion, unanimously adopted by the TOS Board of Directors.

-- TVA Land Policy - Comments submitted to the TVA Board of Directors on the draft policy to govern the future use and development of TVA-owned lands in Tennessee and adjacent states. The text of the draft policy is available at The comment period on the draft policy was extended from early November, 2006 through November 28, 2006. See the TVA web site for information on how to comment.
     - Comments on the draft land policy, unanimously approved by the TOS Board of Directors on October 29, 2006

-- Barkley and Kentucky Reservoirs - congressionally driven proposal to require US Army Corps of Engineers and TVA to delay the late summer drawdowns, a change that would greatly harm shorebird and waterfowl habitat.
     - Comments on HR 6087, the so-called "Lake Barkley Water Level Improvement Act" submitted to Congressman Duncan, a member of the House Water Resources and Environment Committee, 10/06

-- TVA's proposed sale of public lands at Little Cedar Mountain, Nickajack Lake for the development of a commercial marina, private homes, and golf course.
     - Comments on the proposed sale, 12/04

-- Cerulean Warbler habitat preservation through the regulation of mountaintop-type surface mining in the Cumberland Mountains.
     - Comments on the TVA Environmental Assessment on Braden Mountain. 2/03
     - Scoping comments on the TVA Environmental Impact Statement for Koppers Coal Reserve (Royal Blue Wildlife Management Area) 6/03
     - Comments on the Programmatic Draft Environmental Impact Statement on Mountain Top Mining/Valley Fill in the Appalachian BCR. 1/04

-- Excluding non-native bird species from the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.      - TOS Mute Swan letter 5/04
     - Comments on the proposed list of species to be excluded from protection under the MBTA, as authorized by Migratory Bird Treaty Reform Act of 2004. 1/05

-- TVA's Reservoir Operations Study and the effects of changes in reservoir operations on shorebird habitat and other wildlife values.
     - TOS Comments on Scope of Study. 4/02
     - TOS Comments on ROS Draft EIS. 2003

-- Endorsed American Bird Conservancy Cats Indoor! Policy.
     - TOS Cats Indoors! Resolution. 5/00
     - Cats letter/PA Game Commission. 9/03

-- Restoration of the Tennessee Wetlands Acquisition Fund.
     - TOS letter. 4/03

For more information on these issues, on issues that the committee is presently studying, or on issues you think the committee should address, please contact one of the committee co-chairs, Melinda Welton, 5241 Old Harding Road, Franklin, TN 37064, or Gregg Elliot,

Back to TOS Homepage