Watershed Support Center


What is a watershed?

Click image to watch short video:  ”What’s A Watershed?”

Tennessee has over 60,000 miles of rivers and streams, and more than 570,000 acres of lakes1.  We all live in a watershed, and when we take care of these water resources we are rewarded by cleaner drinking water, healthier fish, and a better environment for everyone.  The Council’s Watershed Support Center works with local communities to educate, conserve and restore the health of Tennessee’s watersheds, including healthy urban and rural forests for people, plants and animals.


Each year brings measurable improvement in the quality of Tennessee’s waters and watersheds.


To provide communities with the science and tools necessary to conserve and restore local watershed health.

*** NEW DOWNLOAD *** Citizen Action Guide to Watershed Assessment and Restoration - The Council’s Citizen Action Guide connects citizens with their local watershed and empowers them to take action! All this to promote watershed health, community engagement and community priorities.   This program includes training workshops for your community on watershed assessment methods and restoration actions in which everyone can participate. 


The most recent watershed data about Tennessee shows that more than half of our state’s rivers, streams, lakes and wetlands are impaired, or in poor biological health.  These waters are the source of our drinking water supplies, and its where we go to fish, float and swim.  Check out Tennessee’s 303d list for a complete list of impaired waters.  Click here for a comprehensive overview of the status of water quality in Tennessee.  Or visit TDEC’s water page for a wealth of reports and information.


  • Curtail 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. 
  • Reforest stream banks by planting trees and vegetation – to stabilize the soil, filter pollutants to improve water quality and reduce flooding. And increase adjacent property values!
  • Install rain gardens, adding beauty to the landscape and reducing flooding by allowing storm water to be absorbed by the plants and infiltrated into the ground.
  • Monitor water quality by involving school and youth groups to monitor local waterways and to implement action plans to make improvements.    


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.  Watch a great video which showcases this award-winning program.


Stream Support Services and Consulting Available

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

Tennessee Healthy Watershed Initiative — a program of TDEC

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 - Shows you how to create attractive and healthy yards by working with Tennessee’s environment rather than against it.  The results:  you don’t waste water, fertilizers or pesticides, and our lakes, streams, rivers and wildlife are protected for generations to come.  Created by TVA, UT Extension, and Tennessee Water Resources Research Center.

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

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