TWRA will take part in ‘Operation Dry Water’ July 5 - 7

Adjustments made for handheld duck blind drawing

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency will be participating in Operation Dry Water, July 5-7. Operation Dry Water is a national weekend of Boating Under the Influence (BUI) awareness and enforcement campaign directed toward reducing alcohol and drug-related accidents and fatalities.

Operation Dry Water is held annually near the Fourth of July holiday to give BUI enforcement high visibility during the peak boating season. The TWRA is teaming with the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA). Operation Dry Water was started by the NASBLA in 2009. It has been a highly successful campaign drawing public attention to the dangers of boating under the influence.

TWRA boating officers will saturate high traffic areas on reservoirs across the state. Along with the use of life jackets and other safety practices, officers want boaters to be aware of the effects and ramifications of alcohol use. The TWRA will be intensifying efforts to detect and apprehend boat operators who are operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

In 2018, during Operation Dry Water, there were nine boating under the influence (BUI) arrests across Tennessee.

Operating a boat with a Blood Alcohol Content of .08 percent or higher is illegal in Tennessee, the same as operating a motor vehicle. Penalties may include fines, jail, boat impoundment and the loss of boat driving privileges.

Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in recreational boater deaths. Sun, wind, noise, vibration and motion intensify the effects of alcohol, drugs and some medications.

For more information on Operation Dry Water, visit

Adjustments have been made for the August handheld duck bling drawings and an update on a fisheries research cooperative effort was given among the agenda items at the June meeting of the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission which concluded Friday.

At the TFWC’s May meeting, the commission requested Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency staff review the handheld duck blind drawing process for consistency and ways to reduce the likelihood of buying/selling of blind sites.

At the Aug. 3 blind drawings, a two stage process will be used. Parties will be formed after the first drawing. The second drawing will be for blind locations for those selected in the first drawing.

Dr. Mark Rogers, leader of the Tennessee Cooperative Fisheries Research Unit, provided an overview of the cooperative agreement between the TWRA, U.S. Geological Service (USGS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and Tennessee Tech.

The cooperative leverages USGS and TTU resources to address TWRA’s research needs. Recent and ongoing projects include monitoring the movement and abundance of Asian carp, an evaluation of Florida largemouth bass in Chickamauga Lake, and assessing the contribution of stocked rainbow trout fingerlings in the Clinch River.

The commission amended a proclamation to reflect calendar date changes only for the South Cherokee Wildlife Management Area bear and deer gun hunts.

An overview of the TWRA quota hunts program was given. TWRA currently holds nine drawings a year. The TWRA Licensing Division and Brandt, the agency’s license vendor, have worked to provide customers and agency personnel with a more user friendly application process for quota hunts.

The commission approved a rule amendment in regard to the governing shooting-operation of private wildlife preserves.

This amendment allows big game wildlife preserves to acquire in-state CWD susceptible species once the animals are enrolled in a CWD monitoring program with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA). This removes the current mandatory enrollment, minimum of five years, and prior to a preserve taking possession of the animals. Also, the amendment requires the TDA to be responsible for all mandatory CWD testing on preserves and any escapes of non-indigenous mammals.