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 lakes that source our domestic, industrial and agricultural water supply1. We all live in a watershed, and when we take care of the watershed, rivers and streams, we are rewarded by cleaner drinking water, better recreational opportunities, healthier fish, and a better environment and economy.  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. Check out our downloadable watershed guidebook — the “Citizen Action Guide for Watershed Restoration.”


Tennessee’s watersheds and water quality improve year after year.


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

Check out our current project, the Lytle Creek Restoration Project in  Murfreesboro


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, swim and irrigate our crops.  Check out Tennessee’s 303d list for a complete list of impaired waters.  Visit TDEC’s water page for a comprehensive overview of the status of water quality in Tennessee.


  • Monitor water and habitat quality by involving school and youth groups, civic groups and local residents to monitor local waterways, identify opportunities, and implement action plans to enhance water quality.
  • Curtail stream bank erosion by installing bioengineering solutions 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.
Cumberland river basin Lower Tn River Basin
Mississippi River Basin Upper TN River Basin


Lytle Creek Restoration – Restoring up to 2100 (+/-) feet of Lytle Creek in the Stones River watershed. Restoration project activities include but are not limited to bank stabilization, riparian reforestation, livestock exclusion, alternative water supply and infiltration basin (i.e. rain garden installation) establishment.

Duck River Opportunities Project (DROP) prioritizes watershed restoration in the Duck River watershed. This river is one of the most biologically diverse river systems in the world.  DROP, founded in 1999, continues to restore polluted tributaries through a combination of education, on-the-ground projects and policy initiatives.

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 – Students experience the biology, chemistry and habitat of the river system, identify and implement projects that improve the aquatic system.


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

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  

The Council advances this clean energy opportunity in Tennessee