Richland Creek Watershed Alliance blog

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Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Year of Achievements and Possibilities for 2011

2010 has just about come to pass and it is the season for many of us to reflect on the past and plan for the future. With the community's support, the RCWA will draw from past accomplishments to bridge future plans in 2011 that pursue our mission.

This year we requested and received funding to implement a volunteer stream monitoring program. The RCWA expects many stakeholders will join the stream monitoring program in 2011, which we look forward to and depend upon. A major goal of the monitoring program is to expand the scientific data for Richland Creek- To further characterize the stream's water quality challenges and better define areas that need restorative objectives and policies.

The RCWA has assembled an Advisory Committee for the stream-monitoring program and are grateful for their pledge of service and expertise. The Committee will advise the program organizers, help interpret the data collected and guide future objectives. RCWA expects more funding will be needed to extend monitoring and to support restorative projects identified into the future. Financial support by the community is important for success of this RCWA study.

The RCWA is especially grateful and proud of the community for the achievements made in 2010 and look forward to thanking the community further in 2011.

2010 Achievements:
  • The RCWA continued the important flow monitoring study partnership on Richland Creek with The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.
  • The RCWA partnered with the Vanderbilt Institute for Energy and Environment's (VIEE) Nashville Yard Project.
  • The RCWA brought to the community's attention a stream buffer variance controversy. The organization advocated against approval of the variance and asked that the Rule to reclaim 75-feet of stream buffer for Richland Creek be upheld at the West Nashville Police Precinct redevelopment project. The effort gained some compromise of stream buffer width with the variance approval in March, but the after the May flood the City rethought their decision and announced in December a redesign. The new precinct design calls for 85-feet of stream buffer reclamation.
  • The RCWA held their 4th Annual Spring Creek Clean up on Richland Creek and Charlotte Avenue in 2010. Organizers surmised that the continued focus to "clean up" here had diminished the amount of trash accumulated this year. Less litter is good!
  • The RCWA's 2010 Annual Membership Meeting featured presentations on two scientific studies being conducted in the Richland Creek watershed that the Alliance has partnered - Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Instream Flow study and Vanderbilt Institute for Energy and Environment's Nashville Yard Project study.
  • The RCWA successfully brought to the public's attention an Army Corps of Engineer's stream relocation permit application submitted by the ReoStone quarry. The RCWA advocated for and was granted a public meeting about the controversy, which also prompted The Rogers Group to re-design their project closer to the alternative design route that RCWA proposed. Hundreds of feet of original stream channel and habitat were saved thanks to the public support and initiative.
  • The RCWA's Board of Directors expedited the organizations' business, achieved the 501c3 non-profit status and recruited two new board members.
  • The RCWA published three CreekVoice issues.
  • The RCWA assisted with or reported numerous violations to Metro Water Services and/or the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation about illicit discharges or unpermmited work in the Richland Creek watershed.
  • RCWA received assistance from the Tenneessee Wildlife Resources Agency and the World Wildlife Fund for the stream-monitoring program to be implemented. The design firm, Barge Cauthen Associates, Inc. also donated funding to assist with sample analyses fees.
Please send your $15 membership fee or donation to RCWA P O Box 92016 Nashville, TN 37209 or visit our website page "how you can help" to submit at www.richlandcreekwatershedalliance.org.
THANKS!


Monday, December 20, 2010

Department of the Army - Final Word Regarding The Rogers Group permit

Season's Greetings RCWA Stakeholders,


Celebrate your accomplishment this holiday season!


RCWA received the letter below today from the Army Corps of Engineers' Nashville Disctrict regarding the official determination for The Rogers Group permit to relocate Richland Creek.


This project was greatly improved because of the public's attention to the issue - More orginal stream channel and habitat was prevented from being destroyed.


RCWA is proud and grateful to stakeholders for participating in this public comment process.




From: Fanning, Scott LRN

Date: Fri, Dec 17, 2010 at 2:36 PM

Subject: File No. 2010-00546; Proposed Work at Richland Creek Mile 1.3, Tributary of

Cumberland River Mile 175.7 Left Bank (Cheatham Lake) Davidson County,

Tennessee (UNCLASSIFIED)

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

Caveats: FOUO

This is in further regard to your comments concerning an application for a Department

of the Army permit by The Rogers Group for work at the subject location.


The concerns and issues raised by you and others were considered and included in the

public record. Members of the public contributed important information that has served

to develop relevant issues considered in our permit decision. We believe that requests

for a public hearing were largely satisfied by the July 14, 2010, meeting held at Cohn

Adult High School. The applicant’s proposed plans were substantially modified largely

due to public input. Since holding a separate public hearing would not likely result in

additional substantive information, we determined that such a hearing was not required

in connection with this application.


We have now completed our public interest evaluation of this application. On

November 30, 2010, after a careful consideration of all the relevant factors, including

public comments, we issued a permit for work associated with the relocation of

Richland Creek. The approved plans provide for the construction of a meandering

stream channel which more closely matches the route of Richland Creek prior to the

flood than did the originally proposed relocated channel. In addition, we have added

special conditions to the permit to minimize the anticipated environmental impacts.


If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at the address or telephone

number below or by email.


Sincerely,


G. Scott Fanning

Regulatory Branch

US Army Corps of Engineers

3701 Bell Road

Nashville TN 37214-2660

ph. (615) 369-7521

fax (615) 369-7501


We would appreciate your feedback on how we are performing our duties. Our automated Customer Service Survey is located at: http://per2.nwp.usace.army.mil/survey.html


You can also comment on our blog or click a reaction below.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Fall Celebration Under the October Full Moon

Join Us for the Richland Creek Watershed Alliance’s Fall Celebration on Friday evening, October 22nd from 5-7 PM.

Celebrate our accomplishments and share a chili dinner amongst the beautiful fall color.

The RCWA board members are preparing two kinds of chili, cornbread and beverages for you. We can see the moonrise at 5:34 PM and the sun set at 6:02 PM while we have dinner in one of our great Nashville parks..

Come to shelter 6 in Edwin Warner Park (photo) to eat, mingle, and talk about our upcoming water quality-monitoring program.

Want to work off the calories and breathe in more fresh fall air after dinner? You can stroll over to shelter 9 and enjoy Team Green’s Full Moon Walk in the park at 7:30 PM.

DIRECTIONS: Take Highway 100 west (away from Nashville) and make a left onto Old Hickory Boulevard. Once you are on Old Hickory Boulevard make a quick right onto Vaughn road. From Vaughn road take the third right you encounter for access to the picnic shelters in the park. Follow the road and see the signs for numbered picnic shelters. Number 6 is on your left.

Here is the link to Metro's map of Edwin Warner Park. Shelter 6 is at the top of map.

For questions, email rcwa@comcast.net. We hope many of you come! The RCWA Board of Directors.

Let us know if you may attend by checking yes below. Thanks!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Public Meeting Prompts Redesign by Rogers Group and More News Coverage

See the WZTV FOX 17 :: Newsroom - Top Stories - video coverage about last night's public meeting.

The project proposal by Rogers Group's quarry to get back to business since the May 2010 flood was redesigned and presented by thier executives and consultants last night.

The previous proposal had been changed significantly from their initial submission, moved to save 269 more linear feet of existing stream.

The positive strides RCWA accomplished reflects the public's attention and the dedication by many volunteers working together towards a better scenario for the stream, Richland Creek. The results are the accomplishments.

1. Army Corps of Engineers extends pubic comment period

2. County leaders sponsor a public meeting for review of Rogers Group's Plan

3. Rogers Group redesigns their initial project proposal plan

4. The Richland Creek Watershed Alliance gets an opportunity to present their restoration proposal to the public, applicant and regulatory planners.


Main points

1. A more southerly reconnection and natural restoration to preserve more aquatic life and habitat- to bypass less of the existing stream channel.

2. Restoration of the floodplain to improve water quality, create more diverse habitat and flood defense.

3) A Conservation Trust for the entire area of focus and to restore recreational uses.

The WZTV Fox 17 coverage (link above) of the meeting reflects the chatter of about 200 in attendance (head count), four government agencies, five County leaders and several Rogers Group executives and lawyers.

In addition to a substantial public showing there were also leaders from several environmental and neighborhood organizations present. The unity around stream preservation and sustainability is what will make a difference. The Alliance is very proud and grateful to all that were in attendance and who contributed. There were seven committee volunteers but there were also many others that contacted RCWA with support and ideas. It was a collective effort- a watershed community at work for their stream!

Here is a link to an article in yesterday's Tennessean (Anne Paine) that has a link to the Rogers Group second, latest proposal - New plan proposed for moving Richland Creek around quarry.

If you feel our work is worthy, consider joining the Richland Creek Watershed Alliance by submitting an annual membership of $15.
Address: RCWA P.O. Box 92016 Nashville, TN 37209
Website: www.richlandcreekwatershedalliance.org.
Email: rcwa@comcast.net

What did you think about the public meeting? Comment or react below.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Richland Creek Restoration Proposal at REOstone Quarry- Public Meeting Tonight

To review Rogers Group new and amended Proposal to re-route the stream and see the RCWA Alternative Presentation - attend the Public Meeting tonight, July 14th, 6:30- 8 PM
Cohn School Library, 4805 Park Avenue.
(Birdsye View of Quarry - courtesy of BING)
Sponsors for the meeting are:
Senator Henry Douglas, Representative Gary Odom, Councillady Emily Evans, Councilman Jason Holleman and Councilman Buddy Baker.

Regulators present to take questions and comments:
Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Corps of Engineers, Metro Water.

Permit Applicant:
Rogers Group Incorporated

In reference to:
USACE Public Notice #10-17A

Today, July 14th, is last day for the public to comment or inquire on this permit application.

The community will have the opportunity to view all the information presented at the public meeting and ask pertinent questions to the regulators (TDEC, USACE) who approve the permit.
For your comment to be counted in the public comment record it must pertain to the permit request.

See you tonight.
Richland Creek Watershed Alliance
P.O. Box 92016 Nashville, TN 37209
www.richlandcreekwatershedalliance.org
rcwa@comcst.net

If you feel our work worthy please consider joining RCWA with a $15 annual membership fee.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

A Community Meeting Will be Held for Quarry Stream Project Proposal

On July 14th a community meeting on the Rogers Group's design proposal to relocate Richland Creek is set, and will be hosted by our County leaders: Senator Douglas Henry, Representative Gary Odom, Councillady Emily Evans, Councilman Jason Holleman and Councilman Buddy Baker.

PUBLIC MEETING July 14th, 6:30 p.m.
Cohn School Library
4805 Park Avenue (behind Richland Branch Libary)

The meeting begins with a thirty-minute open house, where the community can mingle and review the consultants' designs. This will be followed by a time for the community to make comments or ask questions to the regulatory agencies involved and applicant, who will also be present (US Army Corps of Engineers, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Metro Water, and Rogers Group Incorporated, the applicant).

The Richland Creek Watershed Alliance is also going to present their vision for the stream restoration project. The RCWA committee has been working tirelessly to first bring more attention to this project, review the information and make field assessments of the stream and damage.
Our objective has been to achieve the best outcome possible for Richland Creek and the aquatic life it supports. We are looking for a restoration project which would preserve the aquatic life already there, improve water quality, restore and enhance habitat and better support it's classification for recreational use. A good restoration project would enhance community activities such as fishing, paddling, bird and wildlife watching, while simultanously improving the environmental impacts. Everytime I go to this reach of Richland Creek I see mutiple kinds of herons (blue, green, night) and plenty of aquatic life, and think, "if we put our minds on de-listing this area off of the EPA's 303d impaired list, all would benefit." Now, is that opportunity.

The community is urged to attend to learn more and chime in.
July 14th is the last day to make or send your important comment to: Nashville District Corps of Engineers Regulatory Branch (Attention Scott Fanning), 3701 Bell Road, Nashville, Tennessee 37214, or email Scott.Fanning@usace.army.mil.
Public Notice 10-17 (Proposed Stream Relocaton of Richland Creek Associated with the Activities of the Rogers Group, REOstone Quarry, Cockrill Bend, Nashville).

How did we get here?
After the Public Notice was released and enough of the community took the time to make comments to the US Army Corp, the planners and regulators realized that the community was interested and had concerns. The Public Comment was extended by the Corps from June 29 to July 14th.
RCWA was then invited to and attended a private meeting hosted by Director of Water Pollution Control, Paul Davis, of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) last Wedesday, which lasted two hours. This planned small meeting grew quickly because this project involveed so many governmental agencies (TDEC, Metro Water, US Army Corps of Engineers, Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency, Harpeth River Watershed Association, Rogers Group and their two design consultant teams). I think everyone benefited from the meeting, RCWA certainly did and we believe Richland Creek will too.

The next day, Thursday three members of the RCWA committee attended the Stormwater Management Committee (SWMC) meeting which heard the variance request by the applicant for the project also. This meeting lasted over 3 hours. The SWMC approved the project but with many conditions, some which were pending assessments, a flood study and a review of where and how the sewer lines can be relocated. These assesments will determine the feasibility for Rogers Group proposal and determine the viablity of any other plan presented.

The stream relocation project must result with a "no rise" in the floodplain. The condition placed upon this proposal or any others is to ensure that upstream residents or locations in the vicinity will not be impacted to any higher degree from floods. This study is not completed yet but is predicted to be done by July 14th.

RCWA would like to thank all the stakeholders for submitting responses, the RCWA working committee volunteers, the regulators and the Council for hearing us and responding to our concern for a public review and the Rogers Group for taking time to review their proposal with the public.

Will you attend the public meeting?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Addressing Your Questions- What are the Benefits or Foreseeable Detriments?

Since our last blog RCWA has received numerous questions and concerns about the Rogers Group project and permit request to relocate a 800 foot reach of Richland Creek. That is good news- many stakeholders are looking at water resource issues and asking good questions to better understand this essential but sometimes controversial topic.
At the north end (top) of the quarry, east of what looks to be an upside down foot, is a dip. This is the stream channel Rogers Group proposes to fill-in and where the quarry wall collapsed during the flood. You can clearly see there is no riparian area remaining on the quarry's side of creek due to mining encroachment. Rogers Group describes this as the "flood destroyed channel" in their permit request.

The Group proposes their new stream channel to be connected from the uppermost part of dip to the toe of that upside down foot, north of the existing channel. They also propose to add a second "high flow channel" between the natural and new channel- across the middle of the bottomland, the dip.

What happens to the wildlife, aquatic wildlife and habitat that is there now? I think you know the answer (gone). What is Rogers Group timeline for the work to be finished and what assurances does the public have they will be completed as described? When does Rogers Group anticipate the habitat, wildlife and aquatic life to return? Where are the design plans for this mitigation and why are they not submitted with this permit? This needs to be a one-permit process with both the proposal and mitigation design plans included, now, before any permit is granted for public viewing.

As you can see on the aerial above, encrouachmet has eaten away much of the habitat already. This is why this reach of stream is on the Environmental Protection Agency's 303d Impaired List for "habitat alteration" already. Once listed on the 303d, the objective is to get delisted. When does this process begin, what is the end- game for a quarry? You may know the answer to this too.
This second aerial map (left) has the flood coverage overlay showing the mine filled up with flood water. It has been pointed out we are lucky that the quarry was there because it prevented the homes from flooding (southwest of quarry).

Quarries often become lagoons, harbors and marinas once the mining operation is done and someone else invests. Rock Harbor, just south of this view, was once a quarry. Do you think the quarry wants to mine in the future where the houses are now? Do you think any other areas of the quarry will collapse, withstand a future flood, given the loss of riparian area and erosion there now? Should we be grateful there is now a big hole where once there was an aquifer, riparian area and wildlife?

The overview aerial (right) shows the extent of the flood, after the Cumberland River left it's banks. Rogers Group is moving the stream channel north, towards and into the floodway. Of course, it is unresonable to move it anywhere else- that is where the mine is located.

Hydrology is a science that deals with the properties, distribution and circulation of water, beneath and above the ground. It is a complicated subject but very important, as we all now know after the flood. Hang in there for a second longer. Remarks received from several readers have questioned the impacts this project proposal may have on the homes southwest of the quarry, other properties and businesses in the vicinity and even upstream.

One of these remarks made by a hydrologist suggests "this has not been adequately covered and more deliberation is needed for this project proposal." He asks "will the new diversion channel alter drainage for the entire watershed, making the creek drain faster or slower?" He continues, "straightening the reach, as the application indicates, tends to increase velocity and increase drainage-efficiency, ... will this bring more flash floods at the prision or businesses on the north side of the creek or bring more flood dangers to neighborhoods in the lower part of Richland Creek? Good questions don't you think? We certainly don't want to create another environmental disaster for Nashville.

Okay I am saving the best part for last. There has been several sightings of the Environmental Protection Agency's Threatened Alligator Snapping Turtle in Richland Crek and one sighting that I know of here. If you don't know much about this prehistoric looking creature, they can live to be very old, they clean our streams and there use to be gobs of them but because of pollution, habitat alteration and the harvesting of them for food they have dissappeared quickly and very few places left for them. They don't do well in captivity.

RCWA contacted the US Fish & Wildlife Service to conduct a survey here for this special turtle, since the applicant said, "a formal consultation procedures with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is not planned at this time." They just didn't know they had these amazing creatures living on the stream bank and laying on their back in the stream with their mouth wide open and eating fish and anything else they want. The fish think they see a minnow and swim towards and into these marvelous creatures mouth. See 3 incredible videos of the Alligator Snapping Turtle underwater from the ARKIVE website here. Just click the purple.

If you find our work worthy, you can visit our website to find out how to join RCWA, help us out or be on the readers list. Thanks for taking the time to read this blog. The aerials here were courtesy of http://maps.nashville.gov/empublic_viewer/.

THE BOTTOM LINE_________________________________________________is-
We need this permit process delayed and a public hearing granted for this project proposal because: more deliberation and discussion is needed for the public's comprehension and confidence that we are not creatiing a public hazard; more information and reveiw of the impacts on wildlife, habitat and aquatic wildlife is necessary and; so the applicant (Rogers Group) can provide mitigation designs and timelines to the public. This should be a one-permit process and the mitigation design plans included in this permit application.

To read the Rogers Group, Inc. (REOstone quarry) permit request #10-17 go to this link
COMMENT PERIOD EXTENDED FROM JUNE 29 to JULY 14 (updated June 28th)
Please address your coments by July 14, 2010 to:
Nashville District Corps of Engineers Regulatory Branch (Attention Scott Fanning)
3701 Bell Road, Nashville, TN 37241
Scott.Fanning@usace.army.mil


Your participation is crucial. There is only 10 days left to submit comments!

Thanks.
Richland Creek Watershed Alliance
rcwa@comcast.net

DO WE NEED TO DELAY THIS PROCESS AND HAVE A PUBLIC HEARING?
What do you think?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Public Hearing Needed - Reostone Quarry Requests Permit to Relocate Richland Creek

On June 14th, 2010 the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Nashville District put out a Public Notice (Number 10-17) stating the Rogers Group Inc., Reostone Quarry was requesting a permit to relocate a large segment of Richland Creek as a result of the flood May 1 - 2, 2010 because "350 linear feet of their quarry wall was breached." Rogers Group is proposing and requesting a permit to move hundreds of linear feet of Richland Creek, fill-in the existing channel and then divert it into a new channel.

Moving the stream channel will have undue adverse effects on wildlife, habitat and aquatic wildlife.

Reostone claims the destruction of their quarry wall was the flood rather than the placement of the mining operations up against the stream and poor management practices over many years.

Is not Rogers Group Inc. reponsible for the breach of their own quarry wall?
Streams are known to swell from their stream banks and why adequate riparian area is needed. Floods are to be expected and are predicted to occur. The quarry was built right up to the stream with no riparian area before the Clean Water Act was enacted. Nothing much has changed since, except the deterioration of the stream bank from their poor managment practices and violations. RCWA wrote and showed photos of the sheathing of the quarry's wastewater on stream bank in 2008 and repeated the issue in 2009 when Reostone receieved a Notice of Violation for improper wastewater release and a 338% exceedence of Total Suspended Solids (TSS)- a 13,516 mg/L analysis result with just a 40 mg/L allowed. The quarry operations have degraded the stream bank and impacted the water quality. The quarry operations have been removing the limestone bedrock and crushing it for profit for decades. It was inevitable the stream bank's integrity would degrade overtime. Now the quarry is approximately 500 feet deep, 1/2 mile long and 1/4 mile wide and blaming the 2010 May flood?

To see photos and read old CreekVoice articles mentioned above go to- the Fall 2008 article, "Downstream, out of sight, out of mind" and to the 2009 article, "Stakeholder reports milky white substance flowing into Richland Creek."
There was also a story on WSMV about the 2009 issue, http://www.wsmv.com/video/20685107index.html.

Rogers Group Incorporated claims that the entire reach of Richland Creek within the project area is an embayment of the Chetham Reservoir, caused by the flood and implies that this perennial stream, Richland Creek, is not a free flowing sream but filled with backwater from the Cumberland River.

RCWA does not accept Rogers Group assumption that Richland Creek is not a free flowing perennial stream at this project area. The flow at this project area varies from the controls madel by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers- management of the Chetham Dam Reservior cause backwashes to mouth of Richland Creek.
Richland Creek has been a free flowing stream for thousands of years.

This section of Richland Creek is listed on the EPA 303(d) Impaired List for "habitat alteration" and the Rogers Group is requesting a permit to alter the stream more?
Examples of human impacts that result in habitat alteration are stream channel modification, land drainage, channel straightening and widening, riparian vegetative removal and stream sand or gravel mining. It is the intent of the 303 d listing for a stream to be restored and removed from the list not to aggrevate the alteration with more alteration? The public wants the stream restored, protected and enhanced, not destroyed and relocated. There has been no effort to protect this waterway in the decades the quarry has occupied this land. USACE should deny this permit request and question any future quarry operations here at all.

The USACE are accepting comments from the public for only 15 days which is unusual because normally there is a 30 day public comment period. To request that a public hearing be conducted on this issue you must also comment why you think a public hearing is necesary.

To read the Rogers Group permit request go here-->> http://www.lrn.usace.army.mil/cof/notices/PN%2010-17.pdf

Please address your comments by June 29, 2010 to-
Nashville District Corps of Engineers
Regulatory Branch (Attention: Scott Fanning)
3701 Bell Road, Nashville, TN 37214
Scott.Fanning@usace.army.mil

On your correspondence note the permit File Number 2010-00546

Thanks
Richland Creek Watershed Alliance

Monday, May 31, 2010

Metro's Damage Structures Map published - May 2010 Flood

Metro released the Damaged Structures map they complied for the May 2010 flood. Here is a portion of the map- the Richland Creek watershed.

A message sent from Metro Planning Deparment to RCWA suggested we note for clarity that the 1-4 markers indicated on the MPD legend below are the level of damage, 4 being the worst... not the number of damaged structures on each parcel.

You can go to the Metro website to view all the parcel damage in Davidson't County here http://maps.nashville.gov/empublic_viewer/.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Program at our Annual Gathering prompts interest and questions


Many interested attendees addressed questions to Kim Elkin (TWRA-Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency flow biologist) after she summarized the flow study data she conducted last spring on a transect of Richland Creek, along the grenway. Ms. Elkin reminded us that the TWRA is not an enforcement agency but conducts studies and writes prescriptions as a commenting agency to the regulator (TN Department of Environment and Conservation-TDEC). Concerns on the impact from stream withdrawal in this area was supported by her summary- "26 days in the low flow months of 200 flow withdrawn exceeded discharge for that day, contributing to a "poor fish assemblage."
TWRA recommendations to TDEC will include, "withdrawal by the golf course should cease" and irrigation needs be acquired from "Metro Water Services." They also suggested to "utilize water harvesting practices during high flow events" (storm events)." The TWRA summary stated in dry years "withdrawals should cease until flow regime is restored and in wet years Richland Creek discharge should be above 15 cubic feet per second (cfs)."
The flow study report cannot be released to RCWA and others until TDEC receives the comments prepared by TWRA. The flow study on Richland Creek will continue and fortunately since we have some data for stream flow, biology and geomorphology now, impacts from the flood can and will be tracked. RCWA will let you know of any volunteer opportunities.

The Vanderbilt research team presented the objectives of the study they are now beginning in the Richland Creek watershed, The Nashville Yard Project, next.
Dr. Jim Fraser introduced the research team (Dr. George Hornberger, Mike Vanderbergh, Dr. Amanda Carrico, Dr. Kimberly Bess, Josh Bazium and Jennifer Mokos) and then summarized the social behavior aspect of the study project- who are the household decision makers and what influences their decisions have on the use of nitrogen containing fertilizers and lawn care practices. The survey questionaire the team complied is planned to be used for 600 households in diverse areas of the Richland Creek watershed.
Dr. Fraser then introduced the primary investigator for the research, Dr. George Hornberger, who then spoke about the sampling aspect to the group. He briefly reviewed the nitrogen cycle and the formation of nitrogen species from microbiall reactions. Because of the widespread use of syntehtic fertilizers the natural uptake of these products are not utilized by plants and are either leached to the groundwater and surface water (nitrate) or into the atmosphere as a powerful greenhouse gas, nitrous oxide.
The research will be collecting soil samples at those same households which participate in the survey. These soil samples collected will be analyzied for many consituents and participants will receive the results of the soil samples and $20 for doing the survey interview.
The study will help guide future research and policy for urban and surburban watersheds and the environmental challenges they face. One particular question asked the presentors was, will there be a measurement of the air emissions created from lawn mowers since fertizlers increases the need for mowing of grass?
Following the program attendees retreated to the community room of the West Nashville United Methodist Church for refreshments and more discussion. THANKS WNUMC!
Would you participate in The Nashville Yard Project if selected for the study?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Richland Creek and the Cumberland River meet up to fill-up the Reostone Quarry pit.

This Youtube video sent RCWA yesterday shows the astonishing episode of flooding from the Cumberland River meeting up with Richland Creek to overflow and fill the many story deep rock quarry pit, so quickly, the Channel 5 news reporters are beyond belief.
The footage begins showing aerials of the Cumberland River flooding during the broadcast of the Govenor's press conference on May 2nd, then jumps to a roaring waterfall at the Reostone quarry pit, becoming a lake, so quickly, that the Channel 5 news reporters gasp in disbelief.
One comment on Youtube said, "I work for TDOT at the complex next door and one of my guys inspect that quarry. He said it is roughly 500 feet deep, 1/2 mile long and 1/4 mile wide."

Saturday, May 15, 2010

RCWA Calls for the SWMC to Rescind the Variance Approval


In your own words share your opinion by May 19th on the Stream Buffer Variance approval for the West Nashville Police precinct and crime lab to the SWMC. See how below.

Metro-Nashville Stormwater Management Committee (SWMC)-

Please rescind the March 4th, 2010 approval of the stream buffer variance for the upcoming Metro West Nashville police precinct and crime lab, at 5500 Charlotte Avenue on Richland Creek (Case #201000002).

Please rescind this variance approval because:

· The parcel flooded severely May 2nd 2010 and if the police precinct and crime lab had been there the police would not have been able to respond effectively, any evidence would have been contaminated, police cars would have been swept off by floodwater and the emergency supplies would have been inaccessible.

· The stream buffer needs to be reclaimed and restored to reduce flooding downstream (fatalities occurred in the Nations Neighborhood just downstream from this location May 2010).

· The Metro Water Services regulation and the FEMA determination of a 75 foot buffer and; Mayor Dean’s Executive Order 33 (Green Ribbon Committee Sustainability Report for stream corridors, pages 42-44) should be upheld.

· The water quality and ecological habitat of Richland Creek needs an effective and sustainable riparian area.

· The flood elevation determined for this 1965 development, which was built on ‘in-fill,’ is artificial.

By May 19th, email, write your letter to or call Paula Kee, Stormwater Management Committee Coordinator
800 2nd Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37210
Phone: (615) 880-2334 (paula.kee@nashville.gov), to express your opinion and before the next Stormwater Committee Meeting May 20, 2010 at 8 am.

Tell RCWA what you think?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Richland Creek Reclaims Floodplain

Two videos on Youtube:
The video above shows the peak of flooding west of Richland Creek on Charlotte avenue (at the proposed West Nashville police precinct) and below is the east side of the creek, on Morrow road.

The first part of the video below is what a Nations neighbor saw that escaped flooding and then the photographer goes to Morrow road and Charlotte avenue- an eastern perspective of the creek at peak flooding time.
Imagining the videos together, the magnitude of the flood is lucid. In this two block radius you see the stream trying to reclaim it's floodplain.

Nashville Flood Coverage 5/2/2010

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

More photos- peak of flood at proposed precinct location and the damage to at least 100 homes just downstream in Nations neighborhood


The proposed Metro West Nashville Police precinct and crime lab (above) requested a stream buffer variance in March, which was approved. The recommended FEMA 75 foot stream buffer reclamation is certainly now understood by the view of the massive flood water May 2nd. Photos sent to RCWA shows the extent of flooding.
RCWA comments to the Stormwater Management Committee spoke to the lack of a riparian area could cause dangerous flooding, which it did. Nations neighborhood experienced tragic loss and fatalities (below).
Metro police closes neighborhoods off to visitors today because of looting.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Richland Creek grows angrily - leaves memories

May 2nd midday-
CSX underpass flooded, Sloan road, May 2nd (sent)
Roaring from CSX trestle to greenway bridge May 2nd (sent).

From my house on 54th Avenue North looking north to Charlotte Avenue on May 2nd midday. I saw a parked SUV be picked up by the flood water and taken to Richland Creek during this venture out- to see if my house was in danger. The SUV I saw carried off occurred behind these flooded houses.

May 2nd early evening-
Later the flood water receded and I ventured out of my house to Charlotte Avenue. There was a strong smell of natural gas, smoke and other chemical odors. The police now present at Charlotte and Hazardous Materials (Hazmat) was on the way I was told. He told me there was an explosion and I told him of the old underground and surface storage areas for hazardous materials in the area. As some of you may know this area is why I founded the Richland Creek Watershed Alliance, where we proposed James Park, have our Spring Creek Clean ups and opposed the recent stream buffer variance for the upcoming Metro West Nashville police precinct and crime lab. Various photos below of what I observed the evening of May 2nd on Charlotte avenue, near the corner of 54th avenue north intersection. Yes.. that is a trailer upside down on, in the creek bed at Charlotte Avenue. Richland Creek still roaring to heed it's call- just below flood stage now.

May 3rd 6:30 a.m.
This morning I went out early to see clearly the devastation. Here are some of many photos taken- Las Palmas was flooded since early Saturday and much damaged to the proposed police precinct location, which was built on in-fill in the sixties and now revealed.
1) RCWS spring creek clean up area next to Las Palmas
2)Heavy iron metal grease bin usually sits on creekside empty and moved
3) Camper makes to tributary to Richland behind Las Palmas
Across the street here is a photo of the little riparian vegetation that was there- now gone, parking area removed from the old Champion Ford (proposed precinct location) which reveals the in-fill it was built upon in the sixties and; the damage to the planned police precinct retrofit building.
One of our comments at the stream variance hearing (which RCWA opposed) was that the lack of riparian area here is dangerous to the homes along Richland downstream from here and why we support the FEMA recommendation of a 75 foot stream buffer. The street DelRay, one of those streets that dead end north of Urbandale bridge, had a tragic fatality yesterday. All the houses I hear are flooded there along the creek but I have not accessed the area yet.
Next to the proposed precinct location is the Eagle Body Shop flooded. I reported to authorities long ago of the pollution occurring here and of standing water for extended periods of time. The elevation is lower here because of the sixties development of the old Champion Ford and brewing toxic soup.
Below are links that RCWA members sent. They have more photos and videos of the greenway area and other unbelievable sights showing a beloved creek turned into a roaring river and toxic lake.

May 2nd Videos

Video of Richland Creek on May 2nd: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KRSVhowaYfc

Greenway Photos http://picasaweb.google.com/JayneandDavid/RichlandCreekFlood

Pass the word along for the understanding that these stormwater waters are dangerously contaminated with pathogens and chemicals.
It is not wise or safe to be in-contact with these waters!

Mid morning May 3 UPDATE
Greenway condition by Richland Creek TrailWatch volunteer

TrailWatch volunteer coordinator Kip sent photos. He said, "all these photos are near middle pedestrian bridge on east side of creek. All three major pedestrian bridges, as well as the Whitebridge pedestrian walkway, appear to be sound/undamaged to the naked eye."

North side of Charlotte Afternoon May 3
I rode my bike to see some areas on the north side of Charlotte and the Urbandale bridge now.
On my way got a photo of the ATM in front of Richland Creek Shopping Center which I have heard has an old Underground Storage Tank and saw the uprooted parking at Burger King. All of the shopping center was flooded and there are sounds of pumping water in most of the shops.
I rode up Morrow road to find it closed due to a serious and Hazmat situation still being resolved. Cars were swallowed by the road that opened up from flood waters (first pic below). There was still a strong chemical smell in the air.
The 2nd pic is of a car suspended in Richland, just south of Urbandale bridge. You can see the tires in the photo. The streets of the neighborhood (RUN) were filled with belongings piled high in front of flooded homes. One after another. Too much traffic to get a photo, but a memory of devastation. One owner said to me after I introduced myself, "well those expensive rocks that you laid out here to prevent flooding were worthless." He is referring to the State project that was implemented to lay rock weirs along the east bank of creek to prevent erosion of stream bank- people's backyards.

See a video link (below) I found on YouTube that was filmed at Richland Creek Shopping Center during the worst of the flooding there. PepBoys have about a dozen garage bays washing many gallons of petroleum based products and other toxics substances to the stream and river, besides the obvious.

Richland Creek Shopping Center flood video May 2nd 10 a.m. - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7IVqBVCK0I

Thanks to all those that contributed to this photo and video journal.
Monette Rebecca
Executive Director
Richland Creek Watershed Alliance