Richland Creek Watershed Alliance blog

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Green Ribbon Committee Requests Input

During the month of November Mayor Dean's Green Ribbon Committee sought input from the community to make Nashville the "greenest city in the southeast." In addition to the Committee holding public meetings for suggestions by the public, the Natural Resource and Mobility sub-committees requested contributions from various organizations, including RCWA. Below you can find the submissions RCWA contributed. RCWA did not have much time to prepare and therefore unfortunately did not have the time to ask for your suggestions.
As you may all understand- land, water and air interact and affect the other. The key element affecting our environment is us- how we live and our behaviors directly impact the environment and ultimately our water resources.

The questions posed by the Green Ribbon Committee precede our response below in italics.

Your comments to our submissions are welcome!

Natural Resource Subcommittee
Submit a summary of your organization, your current and future goals, barriers your are experiencing in reaching your goals and a wish list of sustainable practices you would like to see Nashville adopt or work towards..

Richland Creek Watershed Alliance Summary

Mission Statement
Richland Creek Watershed Alliance (RCWA) is a community-supported organization promoting environmental sustainability for the Richland Creek watershed.

RCWA aims to-
Reconnect local stakeholders to the significance of their watershed and offer educational tools to the community about water resource sustainability.

Establish cooperative, practical and effective programs and projects, which all stakeholders can participate and;

Seek collaborative partnerships with other organizations within the watershed to restore water quality and riparian habitat.

Current Projects RCWA hosts and sponsors
• Host annual creek clean up on Richland Creek at Charlotte Avenue (Spring)
• Host annual collaborative clean up throughout watershed (Fall)
• Provide seasonal How-to Workshops for rain gardens and rain barrels
• Provide educational PowerPoint presentations to various organizations about the importance of water resources, the environmental impacts facing our watershed and introduce ways individuals can participate and help to improve water resource sustainability.
• Host stenciling activities (“No Dumping”) for stormwater drains in concert with Metro Water Services Adopt a Stream Program
• Installing two rain gardens in the watershed
• Maintain and create venues for stakeholders to acquire and exchange information (Monthly Update Emails, Creekvoice- our newsletter, website and blog, and currently working on a RCWA video)
• Inform and report illicit discharges to streams and guide stakeholders how to report violations that impact water resources
• Notify stakeholders of community opportunities or public meetings regarding environmental sustainability
• Offer and contribute to community recommendations that improve environmental sustainability

Future Goals and Projects
• Expand on current collaborations, projects and programs
• Cultivate RCWA membership
• Grow the number of rain barrels and rain gardens in the watershed
• Participate in and organize community restoration projects that further enhance riparian habitat and improve stream water quality
• Participate in investigative projects that may affect policies that protect our water resources

Challenges to Our Goals
• Due to the fact that we are an all volunteer organization, time would be our biggest challenge
• Adequate funds on occasion prohibits us from facilitating our programs
• Mistakenly being compared to larger organizations with full-time staff

Submit a Wish List of Sustainability Practices for Nashville

Positively affect two looming environmental crisis - water resource sustainability and climate change through pollution prevention and up-front investment:

• Re-establish all stream zone buffer zones and refrain from approving variances
• Terminate polluting activities to water resources by businesses or property owners with “grandfathered in” status and industry with outdated permits
• Improve NPDES enforcement to prevent illicit discharges by construction practices, or other activities, that pollute water resources- establish stormwater monitoring requirements, increase regulatory inspection and issue fines to those that breach requirements
• Address the “emerging contaminants to the environment” when investing in any water treatment or sewage treatment improvements and permit requirements
• Protect and enhance natural and pristine areas
• Reduce air and water pollution by investing in a mass transit system that will utilizes renewable fuels or electric energy to reduce green house gases.
• Expand greenways and parks with increased deliberation to enhance wildlife habitat
• Establish Low Impact Development (LID) requirements for new and re –development
• Encourage retrofit projects that utilize LID, LEED certification and re-use of materials with tax incentives
• Establish a stormwater credit/fee system for all development (industry, business and residential) to reduce expansion of impervious surfaces
• Invest in water/ sewer infrastructure and stormwater management system improvements, utilizing cutting edge treatment technologies and LID technologies respectively
• Establish incentives for solar, wind and other clean energy investment by business, industry and residences.

(Incentives and credits measured by carbon footprint and stormwater run-off reduction or land donations for buffer zones)

Mobility Subcommittee

What programs or actions with little or no cost could be or should be implemented quickly?

• Release public health announcements featuring facts/truths about the public health hazards of the different green house gases (GHGs), how the formation of ozone occurs and how our specific topography in Nashville is vulnerable to its’ accumulation.
• Release public announcements about the Metro-Nashville Mobility Plan- the challenges and attributes.
• Educate the public how air/water/land interacts and how the decrease of GHGs in our city will improve our natural resources and our quality of life on many levels.
• Ask local media stations and publications to feature these educational topics as a public service.

Changing Mobility Behavior
• Submit a community challenge to employees/residents to walk, bike, telecommute, take the bus, or car pool to work. Begin this program with a base-line measurement of green house gases (GHGs) and collect (weekly/monthly) regular measurement of the same locations throughout the challenge, reporting improvements to community.
Ask employees/residents to report the money they saved for their changed behavior. This data will be helpful to measure benefits also.
Ask employers to join and support community contest/challenge. Their reward will be the city’s publication of their corporate social responsibility (CSR).
Companies and businesses can also measure employee behavior improvement as well (employee sick days, work performance, attitude).
• Continue releasing public announcements to familiarize the public about the Long Term Mobility Plan, and the Community Challenge with follow-up progress reports.
• Prepare an integrated mobility system plan (see below) which utilizes non-motorized modalities, urban electric streetcars, alternative fuel connector buses and fast passenger rail service to outlying destinations from multiple park-ride business centers that doubles as a sub-terminal mobility station.

Regulatory Program
• Review and inspect for accuracy all regulated air emission permits. Working with TDEC/EPA, issue violations/penalties to those exceeding permit requirements and deadlines for modifications to meet current requirements.
• Create an industry investment incentive to apply technologies for the emissions releases that can be curtailed by modern applications, but are not required. Offer violators to use penalty funds to invest towards these applications.
• Implement a carbon footprint tax ordinance to discourage excessive motor idling. Attention should be put upon business activities that often let trucks/cars/buses idle excessively (contractors/construction, delivery, garbage collection, cabs) to meet the new city ordinance.
• Offer carbon tax credit for business/industry to utilize alternative fuels (low/no GHG), with credits relative to their GHG reduction (measured and rewarded for cleaner and more efficient fuels).
• All of the above could be a part of a new GHG regulatory requirement standard.

• Expedite the timing of traffic lights to reduce congestion and keep traffic flowing to reduce idling.
• Implement “green street” program recently proposed by some Metro Council Representatives. Plant trees, rain gardens and other oxygen producing urban green spaces utilizing community volunteer projects and/or support groups who do the same. Seems there should also be a requirement for current urban landscaping to have living plants (maintenance/replacement requirement). Often I see dead plants in these landscape areas.
• Install the planned sidewalks and bike paths to encourage non-motorized behavior.
• Develop a plan for developer investment (by tax or other funding outlet) towards mass transit system since it will attract and direct patrons to their business area(s).

What programs or actions that require funding could be or should be implemented in the next fiscal year?

Local Mobility System Plan
Finalize the Plan and begin investment in a more non-polluting integrated transit system that utilizes electric streetcars/tram, alternative fuel connector buses, fast trains to outlining areas, bike and pedestrian paths. Create multiple sub-terminals that double as business/commercial centers rather than having just one major terminal downtown. Utilize park/ride system at these sub-terminals.
Trains’ crossing our river rather than just car bridges seems to be an efficient supplemental alternative also.

• Utilize the old streetcar tracks beneath the major corridors from downtown outward with electric track conduits for installation of an urban electric trolley/tram system to connect with an integrated mobility system. (Examples: Charlotte Pike, Broadway/West End/Harding Road, and Franklin Road).
Investment in an electric urban trolley/tram system would reduce GHGs greater per dollar-by not only reducing cars, reduce traffic jams and wasteful idling but produce no GHGs into our Metro-Nashville basin.
Personally, I live off Charlotte Avenue and the reduction of cars and traffic congestion could be reduced considerably here. Cities like Portland have utilized these systems and Nashville may benefit by reviewing their proposed and past installations, taking advantage of their mistakes (best bike path designation with this system).
• Begin investment/acquisition into multiple sub-terminals locations as part of the Mobility Plan rather than funneling all travelers towards one major downtown terminal.
o These sub-terminals should be located at the urban streetcar corridors, interstate exchanges and railroad tracks. The sub-terminals could also double as business/retail centers which welcomes park/ride, pedestrian and biking alternatives for travelers and consumers.
o Example- The Whitebridge/I40/Charlotte Pike intersection is a perfect spot to create a mobility sub-terminal. The terminal could also offer a commuter or traveler to park their car and choose to go in town by streetcar, catch a connector bus or a fast passenger train to more distant locals. The John Tune Airport and Cumberland River is convenient here also and may also be utilized into the Plan- a transportation hub.
o The mobility sub-terminal as a businesses center would create concentrated urban development, welcome business from many venues and include many types of retailers (ex: bicycles or smart/electric car rentals).
Cab service included here must meet the new GHG emission standard requirement.

What long-term major programs or actions that require extensive planning, development and funding could be or should be implemented in the next 5, 10, 15, 20 or 30 years?

Implement Larger Mobility System Plan
Utilize a passenger train service to our Parks (Bells Bend, Percy Warner…) and most traveled regional destinations (Franklin, Murfreesboro…) where we have daily congestion. Create more sub-terminals as described (terminal/business centers) convenient to these corridors. These park/ride sub-terminals will be accessible to all types of travel modalities- pedestrians, bikers, streetcars, buses, cars, trains and; encourage centralized and concentrated urban development- as commercial/business centers for that area.

• Continue the investment into sub-terminals, the urban streetcar/tram system pedestrian/bike connection paths.
• Utilize the Federal funding for passenger trains that is likely to occur, into our larger mobility plan. This system should encourage and support a regional train system to be created. The fast passenger train system should also be integrated with the local system expressed above.
• Partner with CSX for track use to connect outlying areas and cross Cumberland River
• Other funding sources towards a sustainable mobility system should come from higher carbon footprint generators, a pollution/gas/health tax and by creating a transportation non-governmental organization
• Successful expansion of urban system will pave the way for regional investment and participation into a larger system. This will curtail polluting commuter behavior more and make travel to Nashville easier, more affordable and attractive to patrons in outlying areas.

Please add any other notes or ideas you want to share with the Mobility Subcommittee.

• I believe we could help improve multiple and obvious economic and environmental issues facing Nashville by utilizing such a system.

• We could utilize local workers, perhaps create an on-the job training of streetcar track restoration for the unemployed and homeless residents.
The City of Portland Oregon successfully uses volunteers to run their streetcars.

• Investment in reduced/non-polluting and electric streetcar/tram system offers other and more peripheral cost savings and lifestyle improvements (some listed).
o Decreased regulatory costs
o Noise reduction
o Lower health hazards
o Road repairs needed less often
o Reduced car accidents and traffic congestion (idling)
o Less maintenance cost for electric systems
o Reduction of water/soil pollution by fossil fuel constituents via storm water run-off and air pollution
o Attracts new business, tourism and increased green investment/businesses’

• Investment in fossil fuel buses seems not to be the best investment in Nashville’s future and just a temporary solution, which will likely become a wasted long-term investment. It is suggested that objective research in the cost and GHG savings over the long term, including peripheral costs/savings, be conducted by Nashville planners and not by a consultant/contractor that builds roads or by another biased group.

o As the future brings increased production of other fuels and technology Nashville will be the prepared to utilized them
o Investment in an urban streetcar system with sub-terminals throughout city will attract more types of riders quicker than just traditional buses.
o Priority investment to a streetcar system brings a reduction to GHGs faster: $100,000 invested in a non-polluting streetcar/tram is more fiscally frugal than a $50,000 fossil fuel bus investment per carbon ton.
o Prioritize investment to congested and busy traffic corridors first.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Watershed Wide Clean Up -Photos and Comments

Our First Annual Watershed Wide Clean Up was a fun success. Here are photos from various event locations and comments from event leaders. RCWA thanks everyone for making this a productive and community building day. What a fantastic and growing watershed community we have.
The creek is smiling.

Special thanks to the event sponsors for providing give-a-ways, supplies and logistical support: H.G. Hill Realty, Publix, Starbucks, TrailWatch, Greenways for Nashville, Metro Public Works, Metro Parks and Metro Water Services.

Friends of Richland Creek (Lions Head area- Post Place Condominiums)
We had a great day. There were 6 volunteers and we picked up 11 bags of trash. We had some of these people work on the greenway also and left their bags there to be picked up. We collected basketballs, tennis balls, coolers, trashcans, bottles, cans etc. We felt we did a good job. Everyone seemed excited but surprised there was so much trash. Thanks for all your hard work. Doris

Kowalski Chiropractic (108 Harding Place)
What a beautiful morning in the hood. 6 volunteers helped clean up the Richland Creek near Harding Place and Harding Road in Belle Meade. Beth, Marissa, and Emily painted 15 water drains while Sylvia, Deb and Jerry collected four 30-gallon trash bags of debris from the parking lots and along the creek behind Kowalski Chiropractic and Belle Meade Galleria. Big finds were 2 AC compressors and a rusty metal barrel lid and copious of plastic bags and cigarette butts! We were all smiles with knowing there was a bit less trash flowing to the Cumberland and storm drains. Thanks Monette for creating an opportunity to help our planet. In support of clean water, Deb Kowalski

Warner Park Community Association WPCA and scouts (Troop 42 and Troop 6 Boy Scouts) said-
A big thanks to Richland Creek Watershed Alliance and all that gave their time to make the clean up such a success. The boys were all either boy scouts or cub scouts. Thanks to Kathleen Heneghan who took our photo, and attended the registration table.
The Vaughn’s Gap Branch of Richland Creek is a small, rather pristine stream as it flows under scenic Highway 100. Immediately, it flows through a ditch to the parking lot of Westside Athletic Club, where, during rains, it swells with water from the Club’s 2-acre roof run-off. The creek is channelized for a good part of the next quarter mile of stream flow, before spilling out into a meandering creek with a flood plain in suburban backyards. Because of the rooftop run off upstream, and the channelization, many of the homes are in the 100-year floodplain and are required to have flood insurance. Residents keep the stream clean for the most part. Since undoing the channelization is out of the question, some natural stormwater controls, or retention upstream would help this tremendously. Alan Dooley WPCA

Richland Creek Greenway (RCG) TrailWatch (Greenway and creek area)
Over 40 volunteers, including Greenways for Nashville TrailWatch Volunteers, a dozen Montgomery Bell Academy students, several volunteers from West End Middle School, and others attended and pitched in. Greenways for Nashville and Metro Parks provided much support, including use of a maintenance cart, various supplies and give-a-ways. Volunteers enjoyed coffee courtesy of Belle Meade Plaza Starbucks. Tennessee Scenic Rivers Association and RCG TrailWatch volunteer Frank Jones brought and piloted a canoe that, flanked by other volunteers in waders, made its way downstream from the southern pedestrian bridge to the northern-most pedestrian bridge. Other volunteers fanned out in various directions along and near the Greenway and surrounding wooded areas. Volunteers retrieved over ten piles of trash and debris from the area consisting of a mix of old and new cans, bottles, plastic, plastic bags, Styrofoam cups, tarps, shopping carts, scrap metal and parts, miscellaneous debris and more. It was evident that this and the preceding clean-up efforts have gone a long way in cleaning up this area and returning it to a more natural state. Kip Campell TrailWatch Coordinator

Earth Revolution (West Park at Morrow Road)
A sincere THANK YOU to all that participated on my team Saturday as part of the RCWA Watershed-Wide Clean Up.
Kat, Jack, and Randy did an AMAZING job of stenciling the “no dumping” on storm drains, distributing the door cards, and covered an impressive length of Morrow road. Buddy, Blaine and Scott were outstanding and worked collecting trash down by the creek. You guys were a powerhouse team and collected 20 bags of trash. We had a discussion about the condition of storm drains and Councilman Buddy Baker said he would address our concerns. Gary, Tony and I (Sue Shann) filled a number of bags with trash from the Park perimeter up to the bridge on Centennial and found tons more dumped in the woods leading down to the creek. A portion of 60th Avenue was covered too.
I guess an effort like this one makes it abundantly clear how important it really is for each of us to have a stake in our own watershed, to work now to preserve and protect the health of our water and other natural resources, for generations to come. Also clear, is how much more there is to do?
Our group had discussions about reaching out more to other groups, churches and neighbors as a resource for more volunteers next year.
Finally, thanks to Monette Rebecca, founder of Richland Creek Watershed Alliance, for her selfless dedication to this important cause, which is so vital to the well being of all of us.
In peace and love, Susan Shann / “Earth Revolution”

Richland Creek Watershed Alliance (Whitebridge TrailHead)
The RCWA clean up at Whitebridge was for the more adventurous types and attracted 3 participants with canoes. The area was hard to access and remove trash from, which slowed the process quite a bit since it was a long haul to the top of the hill. In spite of the challenge a lot of debris and trash was removed. To name some unusual items beside the normal (cups, bottles, plastic bags etc) there was a considerable quantity of metal that was taken to be recycled (participant unknown at this time but a big THANKS); a large quantity of rubber trash, a jack hammer, hoses, numerous soil erosion fences and other construction debris. This clean up team was led by Tommy Pinkston and Stephanie Swartz.

The RCWA clean Up at 54th Avenue North had one of the larger areas to cover and ended up being the smallest group of all (5 volunteers). They collected 10 bags of trash and some larger items from the creek like tarps, plastic crates, metal stakes and pipes. An additional two more bags of trash were collected on Charlotte Avenue at Richland Creek by volunteer Doug Erickson. RCWA members- David Vartbadrigian (group leader), Laura Jumonville, Callie and Faye Hendrickson made this clean up happen. THANKS and you guys rock- Monette

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Seven Groups Signed-On to Event

Volunteers needed for our Watershed-Wide Clean Up on Saturday October 25th. You can click on the map (left) to enlarge and see the areas that will hold clean up events overall. Below is the list of groups participating and how to find them to sign-up. All clean-ups begin at 9 am except two locations- Earth Revolution event begins at 9:30 am and Warner Park Community Association at 10 am.

Volunteers- Please look for the staging area tables to fill out waivers, get information and to pick up supplies first.

Lets get the trash before the creeks do!

A big thanks to everyone and we look forward to seeing many of you there.

Groups Signed-Up
RCWA Watershed-Wide Clean Up: October 25th

TrailWatch Team
Staging Area-Richland Creek Greenway Pedestrian Bridge at CSX Trestle memorial (Park at McCabe Trailhead off Murphy/Sloan road and walk greenway along CSX railroad to sign up area)
Clean up Area-Richland Creek Greenway from Whitebridge Trail Head area downstream to the pedestrian bridge behind the Marine/Army Reserve Base

- 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Staging Area- Whitebridge Trail Head off of Whitebridge road (Park at Lions Head Shopping Center and walk to Whitebridge Trailhead)
Clean Up Area- Whitebridge Trail Head, pedestrian bridge, sidewalk, creek & stream bank

RCWA 54th Avenue North Team (CHILDREN WELCOME)
- 9:00 AM -12:00 PM
Staging Area- End of 54th Avenue North (Park at Wyoming Trailhead and walk down hill of greenway and you will encounter 54th Avenue North Trailhead)
Clean Up Area-54th avenue North to just beyond first bridge on greenway and; area from 54th avenue north up to Wyoming Trailhead

Earth Revolution Team
- 9:30- 12:30
Staging Area- West Park
Clean Up Area- West Park, creek side, Morrow road and neighborhood side streets

Kowalski Chiropractic Team
- 9:00- 11:00 AM
Staging Area- 108 Harding Place
Clean Up Area- Richland Creek at Harding Place, surrounding neighborhood

Warner Park Community Association Team (CHILDREN WELCOME)
- 10:00 AM
Staging Area- ST. Henry School parking lot
Clean Up Area- Vaughn’s Gap Branch of Richland Creek between Highways 100 and 70, within boundaries of the Warner Park Community Association Neighborhood

Friends of Richland Creek
- 9:00 AM
Staging Area- Tennis Courts
Clean Up Area- Behind Lions Head Condos at Post Place, off of Whitebridge. Park at end of street.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Join our Fall Clean Up Collaboration-October 25th!

Be a part of our First Annual Watershed-Wide Clean Up

Richland Creek Watershed Alliance is planning a community wide event in which multiple clean-ups will occur throughout the watershed this Fall. Our inspiration behind this watershed-wide effort stems from the spirited feedback from our past clean-up experience and our hope that this annual watershed-wide event will diminish the need for such efforts overtime.

Listening to folks we have networked with and from participants of past clean ups, the idea was born- For the Alliance to sponsor a volunteer clean up day in multiple locations around the watershed. Whether it is big or small group of volunteers; along creeks, greenways, sidewalks, parking lots, alleys or storm waters drains; it will be a wonderful community building activity and at the same time get more trash before the creeks do!

Email us at or go to our website homepage to get your group signed-up to host or to join an existing event!
Below are more details and stay tuned as we will post groups as they sign-up and we will direct you to a clean-up if you just want to join in!

Groups Signed-Up
· Greenways for Nashville TrailWatch Volunteers (9 am)- Greenway at McCabe-sign up at train-wreck trestle
· Earth Revolution (9:30 am)-West Park & Morrow Road- sign up there
· Warner Park Community Association (10 am)- Vaughn's Gap Branch between Hwy 100 & Hwy 70- sign up at St. Henry school
· RCWA Whitebridge Crew (9 am)- Pedestrian bridge, creek and road area-sign up at Whitebridge Trailhead
· RCWA 54th Avenue Crew (9 am)- Greenway North- Parking at Wyoming trail head and walk downhill to 54th and sign-up.
· Kowalski Chiropractic (9 am)- 108 Harding Place-sign up there
· Friends of Richland Creek(9 am)- Lions Head Post Place Condos-Go to end, bare right where creek is and sign up there

As sponsor for this event the Alliance will
· Promote participation and direct interested volunteers to the various events
· Provide a press release stating which neighborhood areas are collaborating
· Identify areas prone to trash
· Provide guidance to facilitate your event (if needed)
· Provide health and safety guidelines
· Provide water to events for participants
· Distribute gloves, trash bags and waivers to the Event locations
· Coordinate trash disposal areas for Metro Public Works pick up
· Offer logistic assistance during Watershed-Wide Clean Up event and;
· Seek sponsors for participant freebies!

As an Event Leaders were asking you to
· Promote and recruit participants for your clean up event
· Provide a staging area to distribute supplies and collect participant waivers
· Provide guidance to your participants
· Take pictures and;
· Wallow in the pleasure of satisfaction from all your hard work!

Thanks ahead of time and we look forward to seeing many of you~

Monday, June 9, 2008

The creek tribe has arrived

You may have been wondering why there has been no blog entry from RCWA for April, May and now it is June. RCWA has been feverously making rain barrels, launching the stormwater stenciling program, planning for and holding the Spring Creek Clean Up, networking with other community groups, fielding inquiries and membership requests, and easing some growing pains with organizational bandages.

When the idea for a Richland Creek Watershed Alliance was born, one core understanding which guided the project was to have the watershed community’s interest in participation for an alliance; and understanding their voice was missing and needed. Community ownership for our local water resources, beginning in our backyards, is the glue that will hold us together and prompt action. We are a group and growing!

As RCWA partners with other entities to build a consensus for this alliance, we will learn from our mistakes, build leadership, identify our limitations, plan and complete restorative watershed projects and grow as an effective organization. The path and shape the alliance takes will be a reflection of the stakeholder collective. This realization, I feel, makes my job easier and the alliance a solid grassroots organization.

Now it is June, and it feels as though RCWA has grown legs, thanks to The Tennessean, their writer, Pam Sherborne and many others who helped in the publication process of the recent RCWA newspaper story,(Friday and Sunday). It has provided an avenue for stakeholders not connected to the internet to find out about us, and they have responded. My hope one day is that RCWA will not be needed, but until then, we are grateful.

Personally speaking, after the very successful creek clean up on May 31st, I feel I have found my tribe; my creek tribe. These folks worked very hard in treacherously steep terrain, extreme heat, and thick overgrowth, with such bonding spirit and gracious camaraderie, the inspiration and reward is overwhelming. As mentioned in an earlier blog there has been a contractor for one of the occupants along the creek bank that has been annually cutting trees and leaving them in the streambed. For those that don’t know, this loads the stream; a term which refers to the collective inflow of organic materials which over time decomposes in the creek and depletes the oxygen, not to mention in this case; impairing stream flow and eroding the stream bank. Anyway, as I was introducing the creek clean up crew to the work at hand, I pointed to the piles of trees which had been cut and left in the creek, at two separate locations, assuming we would not have the time or energy to get them up and out of a 15 foot steep slope for Metro brush pick up. I was wrong! They indeed did get all those trees out of the stream bed, and onto the sidewalk, and in a safe and organized manner. These piles were out of the street, bound and separated according to their size (see photo). Their conscious care and enthusiasm has changed me and I will continue forth, and now, with my creek tribe.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Envisioning James Park

As promised, here is the sketch for the proposed James Park, RCWA submitted as part of the Corridor Design public comment process. If you click on the image it should enlarge for viewing all the elements better. A big applause for RCWA volunteer-Chris Veit. What a gracious contribution!

We also updated the RCWA Draft Community Recommendations, which we posted earlier (below) on the blog. It now reflects the changes during the DCDP process. We removed the suggestion for Alabama to become a two-way street and added another suggestion: an alternative-fuel trolley system to run between the Cumberland River and Richland Creek. Our goal is to encourage commuter ridership, reduce traffic on Charlotte Avenue and consequently, the pollution produced.

Trolley vs. bus route here? Its sleek design could easily share the middle turning lane and perhaps acitvate crosswalks for riders to board and unboard from sidewalks. If this is possible- it could open up the corridor for more on-street parking and room for bike paths. The flat roof and box design may even be suitable for retrofiting with photovoltaic film to solar charge lithium batteries. Wow- a totally energy independent and non-polluting commuter system for Nashville! A dream or a possilbilty?

Personally, I would love to jump on a trendy retro trolley; avoiding the hassle and costs of having to find a parking spot downtown.
What do you think? Join the poll (upper right of page).
Offer your own comments to Metro Planning.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Richland Creek Clean Up at Charlotte Avenue rescheduled

The previous date for RCWA's Creek Clean Up had to be resheduled due to work being performed on business owner's property. The new date is Saturday, May 31st and will be held between 10 am to 2 pm. Please update anyone that you may have forwarded the previous date to. We need your help to un-trash this area and plan to remove even more trash than last year (1.3 tons). Mark your calendars and sign up by emailing and help us help the creek!
On our website home page is the event flyer for downloading with more information.

This segment of Richland Creek happens to be the western boundary of the study area for the current Detailed Corridor Design Plan (DCDP Charlotte Avenue/Richland Park). These public meetings and envisioning process created a lot of discussion among West Nashville neighbors and now has it's own blog, Charlotte Avenue is Shaping Up, if you want more details.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Encounters when you walk

I walk my neighborhood, city street, or greenway to get my daily exercise and let my mind wonder and relax but sometimes you can't avoid encounters. Yesterday's plan was to walk from my house through the neighborhood and then to circle back down Charlotte avenue and ponder all the stakeholder comments I read recently from the Detailed Design Corridor Plan.

As I made my circle around and back down Charlotte from 46th avenue I noticed many points my neighbors pointed out in their comments. I -read the sign in front of the Richland Park Library (posted 1935 by the Daughters of the Revolution) attributing Charlotte Robertson as the namesake for our avenue; -acknowledged the rectangle parcel, Richland Park, set aside originally as a "commons area" for the early West Nashvillians; -wondered if the closed down pool would become a dog park and if the old Church of Christ building would become a Rite Aid; and -was pleased to notice the Dark Horse Theater's lavendar door and imagined it as protector of this historic spot on our avenue.

Soon my relaxing mood would change as I made my way further west on Charlotte avenue and back home. I noticed -a back hoe at the creek on Raskin property; -chain saws taking down trees on the stream bank at Enterprise and -the historic sign attributing The Battle of Nashville laying on the street. I wonder what others notice on thier walks.
Comments welcome~

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

RCWA Drafts Recommendations for Charlotte Ave. Corridor Design Plan

With some stakeholder encouragement and as part of the envisioning process for the Charlotte Avenue Corridor Design Plan process, RCWA has prepared some recommendations. The main objective for these recommendations is to present environmental and community values into the planning process which incorporate community growth and preserve and enhance Richland Creek.

The western boundary of this corridor is Richland Creek, and ironically, the segment of the creek which prompted the formation of RCWA two years ago. The enhancement of this particular segment of Richland Creek provides a unique opportunity to merge environmental and historic values into the sustainable design planning. Take a look at the Draft Recommendations below and offer your opinion to RCWA efforts (, or leave comments here on the blog! To learn more about our watershed, visit the RCWA website.

Richland Creek Preservation
Create James Park; an urban park featuring bird watching and attributing its historic value. Connect park to the planned greenway (Greenways Master Plan).
1) Restore buffer zone along Richland Creek to current development regulations (50 feet) when parcels adjacent to Richland Creek are re-developed
2) Create terraced stream bank utilizing the degrading rock wall and limestone
3) Plant native species
4) Install park benches, trash/ recycle cans, and LED lighting
5) Showcase historic significance of the area as related to Nashville Founder James Robertson

Objectives: Restore regulatory mandates; protect and enhance a water resource; promote bio-diversity; create urban park which serves to tribute the founder’s words (rich-land).
Benefits: preserve a natural resource and historic treasure; improve community living; increase residential land value; encourage economic growth; protect community vitality.

Redevelopment Requests
Utilize sustainable development and environmental procedures which protect and improve the vitality of the water resource, Richland Creek.
1) Perform Environmental Site Assessments and supplementary Phase I & II procedures as part of the codes approval process for property redevelopment
2) Encourage Low Impact Development technologies: pervious parking pavement and environmental design which address non-point source pollution and stormwater control
3) Require erosion and sediment control for parcels adjacent to Richland Creek when re-development occurs, regardless of parcel size (currently, parcels <1 acre a exempt from erosion control requirements)
4) Encourage Green Building Developers with increased green space design plans for retail and residential projects
5) Install LED lighting, trash/recycle cans and covered benches at public transportation areas.
6) Incorporate and protect historic nature of community

Objectives: Restore regulatory mandates; protect a water resource; reduce non point source pollution; and encourage a community for sustainable living.
Benefits: protect a natural resource; reduce NPS pollution and trash entering stream; save tax payer money by investing in up-front risk assessment resolutions for a sustainable future; preserve the historic value for the community.

Transportation Planning
1) Increase parking on Charlotte and slow traffic speed to 30 mph through retail district.
2) Create an alternative-fuel public transit system to encourage commuter rider-ship and consequently reduce pollution and traffic for the corridor; (such as walk/bike lanes, installation of pedestrian cross-walk buttons and modern public trolley system #3)
3) Showcase the original route to Nashville; featuring two public areas and waterways, Richland Creek and Cumberland River

Objectives: encourage pedestrian, bike and public transportation; provide ample parking for retail outlets; community safety; enhance community living and reduce pollution.
Benefits: economic growth; a safe and pedestrian friendly community; reduction of air and water pollution; and reduction in traffic flow (jams) during peak commuting periods.

To offer your own comments go to Metro Planning

Saturday, January 26, 2008

WSMV-TV airs "Metro Launches Adopt A Stream Program"

Thanks to a stakeholder alerting RCWA, below is the posting from the WSMV/NBC website, featuring the Channel 4 news 5pm broadcast last night. The 1.3 tons of trash mentioned below refers to the weight of the debris RCWA removed during the first Earth Day Celebration Project last year. Check out the RCWA website for more photos, information or to become a RCWA member.

"NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Nashville is surrounded by rivers, creeks and streams but some of that water is used as a dumping ground rather than as a natural resource. In an effort to bring more awareness and preservation to water resources, Metro Water Services has partnered with Metro beautification to launch an adopt a stream program.
In just one day, 1.3 tons of trash was collected at the Richland [Creek] watershed.
"This river can be canoed and there's fish in it in deeper places, but most people think of it as a trash dump. Obviously it would be nice to get people to think about it in terms of something that's beautiful, something that's part of our backyard," said Tommy Pinkston of the Richland [Creek] Watershed Alliance."

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Adopt-A-Stream Signs

Join us tomorrow morning at the bridge over Richland Creek on Charlotte Pike to support RCWA efforts for Metro Water Service's Adopt-A-Stream Program. Metro Public Works will install signs on two bridges which cross Richland Creek: Charlotte Pike and Whitebridge road.
RCWA hopes as folks cross these bridges they are reminded of the life below.
Come to the bridge over Richland Creek on Charlotte Pike, next to the Enterprise Car Rental, at 10 am and be in the Metro photo-op too.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

What is slag?

A stakeholder contacted RCWA asking if the "contanerzied silt removal from the tank at McCabe golfcourse along the greenway was laced with lead?" Well I cannot answer that question but I can say the large bags were marked "slag." Slag is a common term used for the by-product of smeltering metals. During my Sunday walk I noticed the work and snapped a few photos which reflect how we should not leave our work area.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Waterfowl of Richland Creek

On the RCWA website you may notice some beautiful photographs by Don Sibel. These and other photos from Richland Creek area can be appreciated at his web gallery. They certainly inspire conservation and restoration of the Richland Creek Watershed. These are but a few of the varities of waterbirds that call the area home. Please submit to RCWA any encouraging or concerning photos you may take.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

New RCWA website and blog

RCWA proudly announces the launch of its website Unfortunately, the shorter address ( was already taken but I urge you to save it in your favorites for easy use. Also, announcing the RCWA blog, which accompanies the website and is always accessible via a link on the RCWA homepage. Please check the website and blog from time to time and post your comments, questions, observations, ideas and more here.