Description of Ecology along with  Blackwater and Surrounding Area's Ecosystem


Ecology is described by several sources as the scientific study of the interactions between organisms and how these organisms interact with their environment.  How does each organism relate with the other elements that make up its environment?  Well, the answer to that question is found when studying an area's ecosystem.  An ecosystem is the total of interacting organisms and their non-living environment in a certain area.

No matter their size, all ecosystems can be studied.  Take for example plant life growing on a rock might be considered an ecosystem.  If you study how this plant life interacts with the rock in its environment then that study is ecology

Just five miles down the road from the Blackwater Post Office and soon-to-be new computer center lies a special place called The Kyles Ford Preserve.


Kyles Ford Preserve

The Nature Conservancy has protected an 850 acre property that is considered to be the most ecologically significant site in the Upper Tennessee River Basin and is one of America's natural treasures.  Kyles Ford Preserve is described as the healthiest, most diverse mussel shoal and the largest preserve managed by the Clinch Valley Program.  The Clinch River is home to 48 endangered and vulnerable species.  These include 29 varieties of rare mussels and 19 species of fish. 

Kyles Ford Preserve is known for its position on the Clinch River and these different types of aquatic life that live there.  The Kyles Ford mussel shoal is a shallow section of the river that contains at least 35 mussel species, more than any other place on Earth.  Rare plants, birds, and mammals also live along the river's edge.  The Clinch River and surrounding territory is home to 27 species that are federally protected and listed as threatened or endangered, and the new preserve contains 10 of these species.

The issue of the health of the Kyles Ford Preserve along with the Clinch River is being dealt with by using the property, which had been a working farm, as a model to teach local farmers and landowners ways in which farming and river conservation can be compatible.  Some of the health problems that threaten the river are erosion of the river's banks, loss of trees and shrubs along the banks, and contamination of the water by industrial and agricultural activities including bacterial input from cattle wading in the river.


Tennessee Wildlife Management Areas

There are nearly 100 Wildlife Management Areas (WMA's) and Refuges available to Tennessee hunters and outdoor enthusiasts.  These areas are available for hunting and public access along with other outdoor related activities.

The Wildlife Management Areas in Tennessee range in size from 53 acres to 625,000 acres and provide more than 1,250,000 acres of public access hunting.  These WMA's are FULLY funded  by hunters and fisherman through the sale of hunting and fishing licenses.  The hunters and fisherman of Tennessee are gracious enough to allow access to many of these properties to the non-hunting public.

These WMA's are managed by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) and they are divided into four regions.  Starting with region 1 in west Tennessee and ending with region 4 in east Tennessee. 


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