Fish and Wildlife
Atsadi Unisduhv nole Inagei Anehi
ᎠᏣᏗ ᎤᏂᏍᏚᎲ & ᎢᎾᎨᎢ ᎠᏁᎯ
How We Conserve Fish and Wildlife
Tribal offices responsible for the management of fish and wildlife resources include EBCI Fisheries and Wildlife Management and EBCI Natural Resources Enforcement. Legal guidelines relating to fisheries and wildlife conservation include Tribal hunting, fishing, and water quality protection ordinances, BIA Forest Management Plan regulations, and the federal Endangered Species Act of 1973.
Cherokee lands and waters support diverse communities of fish, mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and invertebrates. This biological diversity is intricately tied to Cherokee culture with thousands of species playing critical roles in subsistence, arts, medicine, ceremonies, and stories. Animals continue to play a critical role in Cherokee identity with hunting, fishing, and wildlife viewing traditions remaining strong.
Sustaining fish and wildlife populations and their interrelationships with the environment in a changing world is an integral part of maintaining Cherokee livelihood. Major threats to fish and wildlife include habitat loss and fragmentation, invasive species and disease, pollution, over-exploitation, and climate change. Meeting these modern challenges through the implementation of strategic conservation planning initiatives will be critical for maintaining both ecologically and culturally significant fish and wildlife populations and habitats into the future.
Our program works to inventory, study and manage a variety of game and non-game fish and wildlife to benefit the Cherokee people of western North Carolina. Whether it’s a census of sensitive fish or calculating the density of turkey is sustainable for harvest, we work in a variety of environments year-round. Through preserving and restoring these resources, we promote the connection between conservation and cultural values.
We are responsible for the Tribal Fisheries and Hatchery program. We stock over 250,000 trout per year on the Qualla Boundary to provide the most accessible and productive fishing destination. Tribal Enterprise Waters are a precious natural resource that consists of 30 miles of freestone streams connected to one another including 2.2 miles of fly-fishing Catch & Release waters. They run through secluded forests, suburban roadside areas and even through downtown Cherokee.
Our streams are stocked predominately with Brook Trout, Brown Trout, Golden Trout and Rainbow Trout. We also plan and conduct numerous fishing tournaments open to the public throughout the year and manage the tribal fishing permitting program and regulation. For more information on tournament schedules, obtaining a fishing permit or other information please visit www.fishcherokee.com.
Rainbow trout. Credit: Mark Lisac/USFWS