Construction of the Tenn-Tom Waterway resulted in unavoidable losses of wildlife resources. The construction of pools, canals, project and recreation facilities impacted about 34,000 acres of bottomland hardwood habitat. The need existed to compensate for the loss of wildlife resources due to the Tenn-Tom project.
Section 601 of the Water Resources Development Act of 1986 (dated November 17, 1986) authorized mitigation for wildlife losses resulting from construction, operation, and maintenance of the Tenn-Tom Waterway in Mississippi and Alabama.
The act allows for the following: Management of project lands designated for mitigation purposes (approximately 72,500 acres at the Tenn-Tom Waterway and approximately 20,100 acres at other projects); and management of 88,000 acres of additional lands in strategic locations within the states of Mississippi and Alabama.
Wildlife mitigation activities include enforcement, population surveys, and habitat management for both game and non-game species. Programs exist for forestry management, upland and waterfowl wildlife management, and threatened and endangered species management along the waterway.
If you are interested in learning more about any of the topics on this page please call for more information at 662-327-2142.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
3606 West Plymouth Road
Columbus, Mississippi 39701-9504
Wildlife Management Areas
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Hunting Permit Program
The Tenn-Tom Waterway provides a wide range of excellent hunting opportunites. With over 180,000 acres of lands and shallow water lying in Alabama and Mississippi, the Tenn-Tom provides a diverse range of high quality habitats for indigenous and migratory wildlife species.
The Tenn-Tom's Wildlife Mitigation staff, along with cooperating state agencies, is committed to providing maximum sustainable populations of both game and nongame species. In an effort to ensure sustained wildlife populations over time, USACE and the cooperating agencies have implemented permitting procedures to manage hunting activities and collect vital management data on Tenn-Tom project lands.
Over 126,000 acres of wildlife mitigation land are managed by the state wildlife agencies of Alabama and Mississippi as Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs). As such, these lands are subject to special restrictions and seasons. The Alabama WMAs are Demopolis, Lowndes County, and Mobile-Tensaw Delta. The Mississippi WMAs are Divide Section, Canal Section, Nanih Waiya, Okatibbee, Twin Oaks, Mahannah, and Ward Bayou.
For State information and regulations visit the corresponding state agency link below:
- Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks
- Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
Remaining wildlife mitigation lands, totaling approximately 46,000 acres along the Tenn-Tom Waterway, are managed by USACE. For information regarding locations of these lands, visit our Tenn-Tom Waterway Hunting Maps Download Page.
Large yachts frequent the Tenn-Tom Waterway and Tombigbee River particularly during hunting seasons. Most captains of these vessels are aware that they are responsible for the large wakes that their boats generate. But if they don’t see your boat on the shoreline, you may be in danger of being swamped.
Please make your boat visible to other boats and be cautious about where you beach it and how you secure it. USACE provide free large orange colored trash bags for use as motor covers when you leave your boat on the shoreline. Bags are available at participating marinas and from USACE (662-327-2142).
Before hunting on USACE managed lands, hunters must obtain an Annual Hunting Permit.
Required Annual Hunting Permits will now be available at USACE offices and specific campground locations. Or, it can be downloaded via the interenet here.
2015-2016 HUNTING PERMIT!!
In order to be valid, permits must be signed, dated, and displayed on the dash of the vehicle so that the name and date are visible from outside the vehicle. The bottom portion of the permit (area below the dotted line) containing hunter information must be carried on the hunter's person while hunting.
At the end of the season, complete the survey on the back and place in the return box at the Hunter Information Stations or mail to the address given.
HUNTING PERMIT CHANGES FOR THE 2015-2016 HUNTING SEASON
The following regulation changes are in effect for the Tenn-Tom Waterway for the 2015-2016 hunting season:
2. No hunting or trapping allowed:
B) In the following designated wildlife sanctuaries:
a) That part of Columbus Lake east of the main channel and south of Waverly Boat Ramp.
b) Slough that runs from DeWayne Hayes hunter station, southeast, parallel to the campground and access road.
c) Disposal area AB-2, immediately north of Aberdeen Marina on the east bank.
d) Project lands and waters of Pool A (Amory Pool).
e) That part of Town Creek “All Game” area, from the “Hunt/No Hunt” sign, north to the river and east to the campground.
f) That part of Town Creek “Archery Only” area, from the main access road, north and west to the campground.
C) In Riverside hunting area that is designated for physically disabled hunters in Greene County, AL.
4. Waterfowl hunting:
C) Access for all Waterfowl Hunters is from 2:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. Shooting hours are from ½ hour before sunrise until 12:00 noon. All decoys, boats, and floating blinds must be removed from the hunting areas no later than 1:00 p.m. each day. >
5. Deer hunting:
C) Portable tree stands/ground blinds for deer hunting will be allowed and must be removed daily. Driving a nail, or other metal object into or to hunt from any tree in which an object has been driven is strictly prohibited.
D) While climbing a tree, installing a stand that uses climbing aids, or while hunting from a tree stand, all hunters must use a full arrest system that is manufactured to Tree Stand Manufactures Association standards.
G) Hanging or cleaning deer is prohibited within campgrounds, picnic areas, boat ramps, parking lots and other public use areas. Deer can be field dressed where harvested. Dumpsters cannot be used to dispose of carcasses.
9. From 01 October to the last day in February, hunters may take incidental species (coyote, beaver, nutria and feral hog) during any hunt with those weapons legal during those hunts. No dogs are allowed for feral hogs.
10. Marking of trees with flagging, reflective tacks, or other marking devices is prohibited.
11. Additional firearm restrictions:
C) All firearms must be unloaded and cased if walking through an area with firearm restrictions in order to access a legal hunting area.
12. Motorized vehicles:
A) Vehicles may not obstruct gates, roads, trails or fire lanes.
B) No vehicles are allowed to travel off-road.
Failure to comply with hunting permit regulations may result in citations and forfeitures.
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Did you have a successful hunt? Do you want to share your success with others? Submit your photos of your hunting success to the Tenn-Tom Bragging Board for all to see. But first, review the photo submission guidelines.
PHOTO SUBMISSION GUIDELINES
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As part of the wildlife mitigation program, management for both resident and nonresident North American waterfowl is provided. There are a variety of activities that the wildlife mitigation staff annually implement to improve waterfowl habitat. Examples of these include providing supplemental nesting structures, operating green-tree reservoirs, establishing refuge areas, planting supplemental food sources, and managing shallow water impoundments. In addition to enhancing the habitat, population surveys and nest box use monitoring are conducted to provide information on population trends.
The Tenn-Tom Waterway provides habitat for large resident populations of both wood ducks and Canada geese. In addition to abundant resident waterfowl populations, a variety of nonresident waterfowl species utilize the Tenn-Tom Waterway during fall and winter. Some migratory species include mallard, northern pintail, gadwall, american widgeon, ring-necked duck, green-winged teal, and Canada geese.
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Although upland habitat makes up a large percentage of total Tenn-Tom Waterway acreage, wildlife management efforts have primarily concentrated on the bottomland habitat type and associated wildlife species due to construction impacts in bottomland habitat. This gives the mitigation program a unique mix of both bottomland and upland habitat types available for wildlife management.
However, upland wildlife diversity is one focus of wildlife staff activities on the Tenn-Tom Waterway, including but not limited to popular game animals such as wild turkey and white-tailed deer. Management practices used to benefit upland wildlife include supplemental food and cover plantings, forest thinning, reforestation, and controlled burning operations. These practices give wildlife managers the flexibility to create a diversity of upland habitats suitable for a wide array of upland wildlife species. The resulting habitat diversity created through forest management activities ensures a positive benefit for hundreds of non-game vertebrate species as well as thousands of invertebrate species.
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The significance of non-game species and their required habitats are often overlooked in natural resource management programs. The Tenn-Tom Waterway Wildlife Mitigation Program is committed to ecologically sound management principles addressing both game and non-game species needs. The management of neotropical migratory songbirds is one such program dedicated to ensuring a balanced wildlife mitigation program.
With the assistance of the Mississippi Museum of Natural Sciences, the wildlife staff on the Tenn-Tom Waterway have developed a long-term monitoring program documenting baseline and annual population fluctuations of many declining neotropical species. The information from this monitoring program will provide songbird population data specific to the many habitat types being managed along the Waterway that is of vital importance in predicting long-term population trends and bird-habitat relationships.
A few of the neotropical migratory species that have been documented using the diversity of habitats on the project include the red-eyed vireo, northern parula, Kentucky warbler, yellow-breasted chat, prothonotary warbler, pine warbler, eastern towhee and many more. One only needs to spend an early morning in the bottomland habitats along the waterway to appreciate the tremendous diversity of songbirds on the project.
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Tenn-Tom Waterway project lands provide critical habitat for a host of threatened and endangered, and sensitive plant and animal species. As a result, a number of programs have been implemented to conserve, protect, and recover listed species or the ecosystems on which they depend. Such species would include the gopher tortoise, southern bald eagle, yellow-blotched map turtle, and red hills salamander.
One such ongoing program is restoration of the southern bald eagle to the project area. In 1992, over 30 immature bald eagles were released along the waterway through a procedure called "hacking" in the hopes that these birds would someday return to the Tenn-Tom to nest. From 1992 to present, approximately 80 nests have fledged over 60 young eagles. The program appears to be working and eagle sightings should only increase in coming years.
Another program is the ongoing restoration efforts in south Mississippi to reclaim an upland site from an invasive plant species (cogongrass) and restore it back to a traditional longleaf pine dominated ecosystem. This ecosystem is designated as critical habitat necessary for the protection of the threatened gopher tortoise. Over 200 acres on Ward Bayou Wildlife Management Area (WMA) has been returned to longleaf pine in 2003 with another 200+ acres designated for future restoration efforts. Currently, there are approximately 5-10 active gopher tortoise burrows on the site.
These are just two examples of successful threatened and endangered wildlife programs on the Tenn-Tom Waterway. Other species of threatened and endangered wildlife are also being recruited or managed. In addition to the Corps efforts along the Tenn-Tom Waterway, the state of Mississippi has recently undertaken a project to establish a fish hatchery for walleye with future hopes of reintroducing walleye to northern Mississippi.
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There are many plants and animals along the Tenn-Tom Waterway that are not considered threatened or endangered by law, but are still rare in occurrence and have been identified by the states of Mississippi and Alabama as needing special attention. These plants and animals are defined as those species "which are known or suspected to occur in small or unknown numbers".
The staff of the Tenn-Tom Waterway has recognized its responsibility and obligation as good stewards of the public's interest to conserve these plants and animals for future generations. Therefore, efforts are underway to identify and map as many special plants and animals as possible on the Tenn-Tom Waterway. The goal for managing these species will be to promote and protect these plants and animals as much as possible within the scope of identified project goals and purposes.
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