Watershed Support Center


Vision: The Council works with local communities to educate, conserve and restore watersheds, including healthy urban forests for people, plants and animals.

Goal:  To provide communities with watershed science, regulatory and other tools necessary to conserve and restore local watershed health.

Overview:   A 2013 report from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) shows that more than half of the nation’s rivers and streams are in poor biological health.  Nancy Stoner, acting assistant administrator of EPA’s water office said, “We must continue to invest in protecting and restoring our nation’s streams and rivers as they are vital sources of our drinking water, provide many recreational opportunities, and play a critical role in the economy.”

Through the Watershed Support Center, the Council engages in a variety of activities and projects to protect and improve Tennessee streams and rivers including:

  • Stopping stream bank erosion by installing bioengineering practices on eroded banks to prevent erosion (the largest source for sediment pollution) and to rebuild the habitat for fish and aquatic life. 
  • Reforesting stream banks – planting trees and vegetation – to stabilize the soil, filter pollutants to improve water quality and reduce flooding. And increase adjacent property values!
  • Installing rain gardens.  Rain gardens add beauty to the landscape and reduce flooding by allowing storm water to be absorbed by the plants and infiltrated into the ground.
  • Water quality monitoring & education.  The Council trains school and youth groups to monitor local waterways and to take actions to help protect and to clean them up when needed.  We also offer workshops such as “Greening Your Garden”,  “Planting a Rain Garden” and training for city and local stormwater and parks managers.   


Duck River Opportunities Project - The Duck River Opportunities Project (DROP) has been working to take challenges and turn them into opportunities in the Duck River since 1999.

Fish Habitat Restoration Initiative - The Fish Habitat Restoration Initiative works in streams in Middle Tennessee to protect and improve drinking water and fish habitat.   

Protecting our Watershed Curriculum- Elementary school students learn about the biology, chemistry and habitat of the river system.  See the great video above which showcases this award-winning program

Citizen Action Guide to Watershed Assessment and Restoration (link coming soon) – The goal of the Citizen Action Guide (CAG) is to connect citizens with their local watershed and empower them to take action! All this to promote watershed health, community engagement and community priorities.   The program includes training using the CAG to include watershed assessment methods and restoration actions in which everyone can participate. 

As part of this program the Council has trained stormwater coordinators, educators and students from across Tennessee. We conducted an algae removal project (only one we know of it’s kind) and multiple riparian reforestation work days to help restore Garrison Creek in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. And planted 1000s of trees on creek banks across Tennessee.   


Stream Support Services and Consulting Available

A Guide to Traveling Tennessee´s Watersheds
This great brochure answers the following questions and includes terrific maps and resources: 
- What is a Watershed? 
- Where are they located? 
- Why are they important?  

Tennessee´s Water Blueprint  Includes: • Nature’s “water cycle” and the importance of headwaters, watersheds and stream buffers in protecting water quality and supply.  • The importance of preserving aquatic wildlife to help to keep waters clean. • Challenges we face in various parts of the state as a result of growth and its impacts. • Water quality and supply solutions. • Policy recommendations to help Tennesseans have enough clean water for future generations.

Stormwater Management in Garrison Creek in Murfreesboro.  This video below features John McFadden, Council Executive Director, discussing Garrison Creek/Big Creek in Murfreesboro and efforts to restore the creek bank through planting trees and discontinuing mowing along the creek.  

Community Resource Mapper - An online tool for creating watershed maps on a county, watershed, or state level that allows comparison of impaired streams, impervious surface, protected lands, and prime habitate with other data sets. Developed by Southeast Watershed Forum, NBII, UTC, Land Trust Alliance, and SARP.     

“Leaves: The Fulcrum on Which the Water Balance Rests”- Article by Karina Bynum in Stormwater Magazine

Tennessee Yardstick Workbook - The Tennessee Yardstick Workbook shows you how to create attractive and healthy yards by working with Tennessee’s environment rather than against it.  The Tennessee Valley Authority, University of Tennessee Extensionand Tennessee Water Resources Research Center put this program together which promises these results:  You don’t waste water, fertilizers or pesticides, and Tennessee’s lakes, streams, rivers and wildlife are protected for generations to come.

“Protecting our Watershed” Curriculum – Chapel Hill Elementary/Friends of Henry Horton State Park Success Story 2010 

Urban Community Forestry Initiative and Recreational Greenway Enhancement Project with REI in Duck River and Old Hickory Watershed

Center for Watershed Protection- This link is part of the “Watershed 101″ series.  The “Watershed Protection and Restoration” page has incredible resources including the “Urban Subwatershed Restoration Manual” and links for EPAs “Water Quality Scorecard” and “Watershed Plan Builder” and much more.


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