Richland Creek Watershed Alliance blog

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

RCWA End of Year Cheers

We have spent another year together focused on the important and mutual task of protecting and enhancing Richland Creek. Cheers and thank you for being there!  In 2011 we have...

  • Assisted TWRA with collecting winter invertebrate samples on Richland Creek
  • Implemented baseline water quality sampling on 9 locations of Richland Creek
  • Collaborated with Nashville Waterways Recovery Project — assessed 18 stream miles for flood debris removal
  • Held 4 flood recovery clean ups on the Creek — removed 16 tons of debris, engaged 152 volunteers and cleaned up 13.5 acres
  • Fielded numerous environmental concerns and citizens' inquires
  • Conducted 2 water quality training sessions for citizen scientists
  • Completed a targeted dissolved oxygen study with volunteers
  • Advocated for long-term restoration of Richland Creek
  • Filed an Item A Appeal with Board of Zoning to defend Creek from an outdated land use
  • Gave lectures about the work of RCWA, the health of Richland Creek and water resource sustainability
  • Produced a wall poster for the Flow 2011 national conference held in Nashville that focused on RCWA's work with Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency's flow study on Richland Creek
  • Facilitated a riparian enhancement project at Nashville Big Picture School with Johnson Controls
  • Networked with several environmental groups, community leaders and citizens for stream conservation
  • Filed a Petition with the Chancery Court of Davidson County challenging the Item A Appeal decision
  • Rebuilt the RCWA website
  • Published information to keep stakeholders informed (newsletter, blog and emails)
  • Created a new RCWA brochure, stream monitoring sampling plan and volunteer training manual
  • Held our Annual Gathering — A Watershed is Common Ground
  • Recruited 3 new Board members
  • Grew the RCWA membership
The work of RCWA in 2011 was made possible by the assistance received from:
Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency
World Wildlife Fund
The Middle Tennessee Community Foundation's Metro Disaster Response Fund
Barge Cauthen
Johnson Controls
Bone McAllester Norton
Bradley Arant Boult Cummings
Mayor's Office and Metro Government Departments:  Water Services, Public Works, Parks and General Services
Tennessee Department of Transportation
Nashville's Business Community (Messer Construction, Tennessee Contractors Equipment, Blinker-Lite, Dose, Produce Place and Starbucks
Our Members and Volunteers

RCWA is very appreciative of our supportors, members and volunteers and in 2012, more possibilities can become a reality with your help.  Please consider a year-end tax deductible gift to support the work of RCWA... to protect and enhance Richland Creek.  Donate via Paypal or snail mail.  We thank you.

Cheers to all for a great New Year!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

RCWA rebuilt website GOES LIVE

RCWA rebuilt their website — with ICG Link.  We have updated information about our work to improve the health and vitality of Richland Creek and will expand the site as we progress. The "Library," still under construction will provide access to our publications, photographs, videos and maps.  You can still easily donate and join the organization from the "how you can help" page and "check the blog" from the website.  RCWA is grateful to those that help accomplish this long process. Check it out.... and let us know what you think! 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Annual Gathering Highlights and Volunteer Cheers

Laura Lloyd
Holly and Barry Tashian
RCWA's 2011 Annual Membership Gathering last weekend at West Meade's Abintra Montesorri School was a success thanks to many people.  School cooridnator, Laura Lloyd wholeheartedly welcomed RCWA and the community space was perfect. Thanks for making it so easy and comfortable for us!  The Tashins' bluegrass rooted sound transformed the happening— filled the room with upbeat musical vibes. Thanks Barry and Holly for sharing your talent and music!  RCWA volunteers — Eleanor Synder, Susan Fisher, Paul Picilli, Sue Shann, Catherine Hayden and Steph Swartz made our event planning, set up, parking and clean up painless and flawless. Big thanks to everyone! Your food choices perfect.

This year's program highlighted streams running through negihborhoods and stakerhoders as the voice for creek life.  Environmental concerns announced prompted community questions. Results from RCWA"s summer dissolved oxygen study finding oxygen levels below regulatory requirements (5 mg/L) specifically were surprising.

The focus for the RCWA summer study was to evaluate if the use of creek water for irrigation during dry periods was inhibiting healthy dissolved oxygen levels from being maintained. Even though a longer and more costly study certainly would have provided more expansive data our results support Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency's comment  — "an identifiable source of degradation is a Metro water withdrawal at Richland Creek Mile (RCM) 5.0 in the McCabe Park area."The first two days of the RCWA study found 8 out of 32 dissolved oxygen measurements (25%) fell below regulatory requirements — stream conditions were inhospitable to fish and aquatic life.  Before the third and final test day it rained and consequently creek conditions quickly improved, indicating the previous poor conditions were due to the lack of water flow in the stream.

RCWA will work to compile a report about our work and present it to decisions makers. The volunteer spirit is alive and well and lets give our Citizen Scientists a big hand:  Darlene Panvini, Holly and David Resuehr, Laurel Donahue, Jeff Recker, Steve Curnutte, Joel Covington, Mark Woods and Thomas Herbert and who represent several neighborhoods in our watershed.  

Thanks and Cheers to Volunteers.....

The Richland Creek Watershed Alliance's stream monitoring program was made possible by assistance provided by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and World Wildlife Fund.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

RCWA Annual Gathering — A Watershed is Common Ground
Graciously hosted by Abintra Montessori School, this year our annual gathering will be blessed with music by Barry and Holly Tashian — "Their singing was so precise, so on the mark, that the room rang with vocal overtones" — The Los Angeles Times.   
Join us for our presentation this year and to enjoy some food, wine, music and community-fun nestled in West Meade.

October 2, 2011 — 4-5:30 p.m. 
A Watershed is Common Ground
Abintra  Montessori School
914 Davidson Drive Nashville, TN 37205
Appetizers and wine — adult only event
Your (tax-deductible) support is appreciated!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Volunteers Become Citizen Scientists

RCWA held their first stream monitoring training at the old science lab in Cohn School last week, which brought back high school memories for some of us. The participants read a training manual RCWA created prior, which included background information on the watershed and outlined objectives for the stream study.  After several in-class trial runs, the following Saturday citizens collected samples from Richland Creek to conduct more dissolved oxygen tests.  Ten volunteers are committing their time for this important stream monitoring study. Adequate dissolved oxygen levels are required for healthy aquatic habitats, which is the focus for this RCWA study.  Once finished, citizen scientists will have recorded 144 dissolved oxygen measurements — made a significant feat.  Big cheers to our volunteers.  Thanks also to John Robbins and Quinn Bloom for assisting volunteers during the RCWA training sessions.
Stay tuned for additional updates and photos in upcoming weeks.
The Richland Creek Watershed Alliance is appreciative for the assistance provided by the World Wildlife Fund, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and Barge Cauthen & Associates.  
To become a business sponsor contact us at
Together, we do make a difference.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

RCWA's Board of Zoning Appeal Case Postponed Today

RCWA filed an Item A Appeal with Metro Nashville Codes Administration on June 30, 2011.   The action was taken to defend Richland Creek from a nonconforming use car lot on Charlotte Pike that was resuming operations after they had abandoned the location for more than 24 months — a period of time longer than allowed by law for a new permit to come under the nonconforming provisions of the Metro Code.  

The Board of Zoning of Appeals postponed hearing our case (August 18, 1 PM) because 3 of the 7 Board of Zoning Appeal Members could not make the hearing today and another had to recuse themselves.  This meant for our case there would not be the required number of members (quorum) present.

RCWA's Item A Appeal (Case #2011-069) is now scheduled to be heard at 1 PM September 1st — at the next, regular scheduled hearing of the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA).
A link to the Board of Appeals Meeting Dockets is

BZA Meetings are held 
700 2nd Avenue South 
Sonny West Conference Center
Nashville, TN 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

RCWA Taking Two Actions to Protect Richland Creek

1)  RCWA filed an Item A Appeal with Metro Nashville Codes Administration on June 30, 2011.   The action was taken to defend Richland Creek from a nonconfroming use car lot on Charlotte Pike resuming operations.
The basis for our appeal is the use is not permitted in that zoning district because the previous nonconfroming use had ceased for a period of time longer than allowed by law for a new permit to come under the noncomforming provisions of the Metro Code.  The Board of Zoning of Appeals will hear our case 1 p.m. August 18th.
2) RCWA is calling for volunteers to become citizen scientists for an important summer study! 
The RCWA Stream Monitoring Guidance Handbook is complete and will be printed soon. 
Interested volunteers should email the RICHLAND CREEK WATERSHED ALLIANCE with your name, phone and address to and we will provide you with the monitoring manual to read before training begins.
Each volunteer will attend two-free training sessions in preparation for sampling:
1st Training - Indoors - August 22nd 6-8 p.m.  Location:  Cohn Adult School, 4805 Park Avenue, Room 123
2nd Training - Outdoors - August 27th 9-11 a.m.  Stream-side training location to be announced at 1st training.
A minimum of 8 volunteers are needed to conduct this targeted study. More monitors are  welcome and would enable more data to be collected.  Everything is free to citizen scientists -- supplies, equipment and training. 
Your help is needed and appreciated!

Thanks to the assistance provided by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and World Wildlife Fund the RCWA Monitoring program was made possible.
RCWA Volunteer John
Baseline Sampling April 2011 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Richland Creek Instream Flow Study Generates Letter of Request

The 2009 - 2010 instream flow study that RCWA worked on with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) generated a Letter of Request that was recently submitted to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. The letter reports the withdrawal as an "identifiable source of degradation," and adds that "both the low-head dam and excessive withdrawal during low flow periods contribute to pollution on Richland Creek."   TWRA is a comment agency and recommendations focus on the protection of fish and aquatic habitat and diversity. (The low flow periods refers to the summer months)   

RCWA requested a meeting with all of the involved agencies and departments to discuss the research and long-term restoration of Richland Creek. At this May 24th meeting RCWA presented many potential benefits to the stream's ecology, integrity, hydrology and water quality by removing the low-head dam.  Acknowleging the inevitable costs a project like this would entail, RCWA also suggested potential funding resource ideas and willingness to help.  At this time, TDEC and Metro are discussing the report.

Produced by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, here is a link to a short (8 minute) video showing a low-head dam removal and commentary about benefits to the stream's ecology and integrity -- Take a look...the low head dam being removed is similar to the one on Richland Creek with parallel benefits.

RCWA was invited to produce and present a wall poster (below) at the Instream Flow Council's Flow 2011 conference held at the Maxwell House Hotel in Nashville, May 2-4 about our flow study partnership with the TWRA. Click on the poster to enlarge for easier viewing.
  Presented at the Flow 2011 Conference
Instream Flow Valuation in Public Decision-Making
May 2-4, 2011 Nashville, TN
Long-term restoration and sustainaibliy of Richland Creek is the mission of the Richland Creek Watershed Alliance.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Mayor Dean Thanks Volunteers - 4 more tons

April 30, 2011
tired of tires.....
Mayor Dean visited Richland Creek Watershed Alliance's 4th flood recovery clean up Saturday to thank volunteers for all their hard work. The Mayor got a firsthand view of Richland Creek and discussed watershed restoration with RCWA.   Volunteers came out to the Nations stream-side neighborhood and removed 4 more tons of flood debris yesterday.  Many tires were found again, trees fallen atop the flood debris were pulled out for brush recycle and another dumpster was filled with rubble.  Over the past 10 weeks RCWA has removed 16 tons of flood debris and recovered 60 Metro trash receptacles to be put back to work.  See more photos taken by RCWA volunteer, Steve Swartz here.
Volunteers are the stars!
These recovery projects are in conjunction with our Nashville Waterways Recovery Project partners:
Mayor Dean's Impact Nashville
Hands on Nashville
Cumberland River Compact
Harpeth River Watershed Association
Metro Water Services
RCWA gives a big thanks to TDOT, Metro Beautification, Blinker Lite and Starbucks for providing additional assistance to this clean up event!
Later this year RCWA wants to host more clean up events to get the harder to reach debris.  Our work is important and your help is needed!  Please consider making a tax-deductible contribution by mail or just use Paypal from our website.  
RCWA  PO Box 92016 Nashville, TN 37209 
Thanks and green cheers.

Monday, April 11, 2011

RCWA Creek Clean Ups - 12 Tons and Counting

Good morning ducks....
RCWA Team Leaders
As if reminding Richland Creek Watershed Alliance of, why we do what we do, ducks frolicked in the stream, greeting RCWA leaders preparing for this year's annual clean up. Two more tons of debris got removed this spring from Richland Creek at Charlotte Avenue. The creek habitat is healthier and streamside appearance improved because of the forty plus volunteers who came to help remove many difficult items from the stream, it's banks, storm channels, parking lots and tributary that flows under Whitebridge.
Gunner and his family joined us and recovered glass for recycling too. About half of what was collected is pictured here. Thanks Gunner's Glass Recycling.  Volunteers filled the dumpster with stream debris, pulled out a huge pile of woody brush blocking a storm drain and retreived more trash receptacles to be returned to Metro for re-use that were deposited from the flood. Everyone worked hard this hot April day and commented how beautiful this area of Richland Creek could be......

SO FAR THIS YEAR we have removed 12 tons of debris from Richland Creek ... and counting to meet the 20 Ton Goal pledged to Metro.  RCWA needs your help --- our funds are running low!
Your support of $1, $5 or $10 per ton will help meet our 20 Ton Goal and make Richland Creek healthier.   
Please send your 20 Ton Pledge to RCWA (P.O. Box 92016 Nashville, TN 37209) and support our volunteers and the work we do.  Thanks!
Our next Richland Creek recovery clean up is April 30th at Hite street.  Get details here.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Looking back- 5th Annual Spring Creek Clean Up at Charlotte Avenue

Richland Creek Watershed Alliance learned preparing for thier first spring clean up in 2007 that many people did not know a stream was running under a historic boulevard; unaware that Richland Creek flowed beneath Charlotte Avenue. This Saturday, April 9th will be the fifth year that the RCWA hosts a spring stream clean up here. Over 6 tons of debris has been removed over the four years past at this small segment of Richland Creek.  Volunteers are invited to join us again, 9 a.m. to remove more debris this year.  Plenty of parking is available at the community church on 54th Avenue, behind Budget Brakes, which is a short walk to our registration tent. Refreshments, t-shirts and clean up supplies will be provided to our volunteers. You can click "get details" from our website homepage to download the event flyer with a map.
RCWA has been highlighting the ecological and historic importance of this intersection over the past years too.  Nashville's first road west and the rich-creek-land, where our founding father, General James Roberson forged settlement upon were noted and can be imagined by historic markers.  Setting quietly at this creek-avenue crossroads is Daughters of the American Revolution rock marking where Father of Nashville's driveway once began; and a Battle of Nashville sign indicating a decisive battle line set by the Federal 6th Calavary in 1864 on Richland Creek.  
Back then the landscaped was rich -- bubbling with wildlife and persistant settlers willing to risk their life against indian attacks to farm the fertile soil.  The rich-stream-land did not remain the jewel it was but conditions are about to be enhanced soon.  Community advocacy for reclaimation of the stream buffer and realizations from the May flood has prompted improvement. The upcoming West Nashville police precinct is giving back over 54,000 square feet of land to Richland Creek.  Residents and onlookers will watch the benefits flourish and the broader value of Richland Creek grow into view overtime.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Clean Up Volunteers Grateful to Mother Nature Yesterday

The eighty percent rain chance forecasted Friday night reasonably convinced us that a gulley washer was eminent Saturday and prompted organizers to prepare a retreat plan.  Nature fooled us all and rewarded the 19 hardy volunteers who appeared with dry weather.  The volunteers worked tirelessly and retrieved about 4 tons of flood debris.  Many large floatable flood remnants easily could have made their way back into the stream, met up with the sewer line just downstream and created a blockage to stream flow.  Volunteers from the Nations neighborhood understood the potential flood hazard and expressed gratitude for our event.  Beside filling the roll of dumpster below, volunteers seperated out tires and hazardous materials for proper disposal and Metro trash receptalces to be returned for reuse.
Almost Done

The Richland Creek Watershed Alliance is extremely grateful to our
Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee's Metro Disaster Response Fund
Metro Public Works and Beautification
Tennesseee Contractors Equipment
Messer Construction Company
Blinker Lite
Dose Coffee and Tea;
The Volunteers,
and our Nashville Waterways Recovery Project partners:
Mayor Dean's Impact Nashville
Hands On Nashville
Cumberland River Compact
Harpeth River Watershed Association
Metro Water Services,
all made this flood recovery project possible.

Our next Richland Creek flood recovery project is scheduled for April 9th at Charlotte Avenue and we need volunteers with canoes to help retreive debris from the steep stream banks. Contact us at if you can help. Thanks!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Next Richland Creek Flood Recovery Clean Up Scheduled in the Nations Area - March 26

Our partnership with Mayor Dean's Impact Nashville -  The Nashville Waterways Recovery Project continues.
The Nations neighborhood in the Richland Creek watershed was hit hard during the May flood and much remains to remind us. The debris here can create blockages and cause upstream flooding.  There is an above ground sewer line crossing the stream that makes this scenario more likely.  RCWA needs volunteer help to clean up this riparain zone March 26th.  Meet us at our registration tent 8:30 a.m. Saturday at 1006 Delray Court (red circle on map below) and let us know you are coming - Email us at or go to the Hands On Nashville webste at to pledge your participation.  Some volunteers with wonder bars to help dismantle constructed items, wheel barrels to move heavy debris and rakes to retrieve items from trees helpful!

The clean-up area is a floodplain that can be muddy and unlevel - ankle-high boots recommended.  Eye protection suggested preventing poking from branches. Please dress for current weather and expect to get dirty.  The debris is concentrated in a small area and close to the staging area fro removal. Volunteers will need to retrieve some debris across a stormwater tributary using the buddy system.  Children will need adult supervision.

You can help us by circulating our flyer, available on our homepage at  Just click "get details" to access flyer.  Thank You!

The Richland Creek Watershed Alliance is grateful to Metro Beautification for providing trash removal services and clean-up supplies; Tennessee Contractors Equipment for preparing the area safe for volunteer clean-up; the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee’s Metro Disaster Response fund and for our Nashville Waterways Recovery Project partners: Mayor Dean’s Impact Nashville, Metro Water Services, Hands On Nashville, Cumberland River Compact and the Harpeth River Watershed Association.

Monday, February 28, 2011

63 Volunteers + Enthusiasm = A Cleaner and Safer Richland Creek

In just an hour last Saturday 63 volunteers filled the dumpster but enthusiastically kept working to remove more flood debris at West Park. The debris had to be retrieved from the woodland area along Richland Creek and the photos cannot show how hard volunteers worked to get the debris out, up and across the long distance to staging area.
The dozens of trash receptacles recovered shown below are filled with trash and will be refurbished by Metro Public Works for reuse. A pile of metal will also be recycled and various types of more hazardous materials will be handled accordingly.  Links to more photos showing the volunteer spirit for this challenging endeavor can be seen - by Steve Swartz - Richland Creek Cleanup 2/26/11 and by Mary Agee - Impact Nashville/Richland Creek Cleanup Day 2/26/11.
Debris still remains here but much has been removed.  The area is starting to look like the wildlife setting that it is again!
Kudos to the volunteers, partners and sponsors who helped make this Richland Creek Flood Recovery Project successful!

Nashville Waterways Recovery Project
 Mayor Dean's Impact Nashville 
 Hands On Nashville
 Metro Water Services
 Cumberland River Compact
 Harpeth River Watershed Association

Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee's Metro Disaster Response Fund
Metro Parks
Metro Beautification
Dose Coffee and Tea
Produce Place


Refuse Retreived

More waterway recovery projects are planned for Richland Creek.
RCWA's next project planned will be in the Nations neighborhood March 26th. 
Prior to this clean up date, RCWA will need 2 volunteers with chain saws, another with expertise in operating a bobcat and several more to assist with creating access trails for this clean up project.  
Please contact us if you can help with this preparation asap!

The Richland Creek Watershed Alliance is a recognized 501c3 tax-exempt organization, public charity.
We need and welcome your donation. Please submit online from our website or send your donation to RCWA at P.O. Box 92016 Nashville, TN 37209.  

Green cheers
Monette Rebecca
Executive Director
Richland Creek Watershed Alliance

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Volunteers Needed for Richland Creek Flood Recovery at West Park

West Park was assessed by the Richland Creek Watershed Alliance after the May flood and we found a large amount of debris near the stream still remaining.  During a significant rain event this spring, debris could return to the stream and potentially impair stream flow and impact water quality. We need volunteers to help remove the debris out from a wooded area and restore the area along Richland Creek back to a wildlife setting.  

This Richland Creek flood recovery project will not only improve the wildife habitat, water quality and the area's appearance, but brings the community together around stream sustainability issues.  

The debris is dispersed over a 3-5 acre area so volunteers should expect to walk distances to move debris items to staging area for removal.  All volunteer supplies will be provided~ gloves, bags, grabbers, hand sanitizer and refreshments.  Please meet us at our registration table with your empty coffee cup for instructions Saturday morning (February 26th).  
Registration table will be located next to the parking area and athletic fields.   We look forward to seeing you there!  Children will need adult supervision.

Where: West Park, 6105 Morrow Road, Nashville, TN 37209 (Parking available)
When:  Saturday, February 26th, 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
What is provided:  Gloves, trash bags, grabbers, hand sanitizer and refreshments
Project Description:  The area is wooded and probably muddy so rubber or other type of boots recommended and probably best to protect your eyes to prevent poking by branches. Please dress for current weather and expect to get dirty.
We Need 75 Volunteers:  We also need some volunteers with wheel barrels to help move the heavier items and others with rakes to get the trash out of the trees or hard to reach places.  If some volunteers wear tall boots or waders creek-trash could also be retrieved but most of the debris is on land.

The work involves removing several kinds of debris (household, woody and construction types) that were deposited here from the May flood, a peak above - woody debris in foreground and background dotted with a variety of debris and trash.

The Richland Creek Watershed Alliance would like to thank Metro Parks and Metro Beautification for providing supplies and trash removal services for this event. We also appreciate our partners in the Nashville Waterways Recovery Project (Impact Nashville, Metro Water, Hands On Nashville, Cumberland River Compact and the Harpeth River Watershed Association). The waterways recovery project was funded by a $25,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee's Metro Disaster Response Fund.
With the help of volunteers, together we will make a difference.

To volunteer email saying "I want to volunteer at the West Park clean up Feb 26th," or just show up.  Thanks from RCWA!
The volunteer opportunity has also been posted on Hands On Nashville's,,specialevent and Impact Nashville's websites. Thanks HON and Impact Nashville!