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 pooor 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:
- Installing revetments (cedar timbers wrapped in coir mat) on eroded stream and river banks to prevent further deterioration and erosion.
- Reforesting the stream banks – planting trees, vegetation and live stakes – to stabilize the soil and help filter pollutants to improve water quality.
- 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. 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
Urban Small Streams – The goal of the Citizen Engagement in Urban Watershed Restoration Project is to connect citizens with the landscape, in a manner promoting watershed health, community engagement and community priorities. The program includes training using an Action Guide for Watershed Help (coming soon) to include watershed assessment and possibly low impact development and landscaping techniques. The project will also create rain garden demonstration projects, smaller lot level rain garden and/or down spout disconnection projects.
As part of this program the Council conducted an agae removal project to help protect a stream in Murfreesboro, Tennesee in May 2013.
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.
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.
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.