Stream Recovery Projects

Eight streams or stream sections in Cumberland County have been identified by the US Environmental Projection Agency as impaired, meaning that the streams have problems which are affecting the life of the stream. The goal of the Stream Monitoring and Restoration Project is to identify the sources of the problems and to work with landowners, the City of Crossville, and others to find ways to improve the quality of these streams.  This project has surveyed and made recommendations for six streams so far:

1.         One Mile Creek, which runs into Byrds Creek, is located south of Lantana Road and Rockwood Highway, totally within Crossville’s urban growth boundary.  8.5 miles of the stream are impaired due to siltation (mud that is running off of land into the stream or collapsing stream banks).

2.         Long Branch flows into Lick Creek, which in turn flows into Daddys Creek.  It is located south of Tansi, between Winningham Rd and 127 S.

3.         An Obed River segment and its primary tributaries, Spiers Branch and Town Branch.  The impaired section of the river runs from the Holiday Lake dam (a drinking water source for Crossville) to where the  Little Obed River joins it.  It is joined by Town Branch and Spiers Branch which drain the southern and western sides of Crossville.

4.         The Little Obed River which drains the northern and northeastern side of Crossville and has six major branches that feed the main stream.

5.         The Upper Obed River, the headwaters and tributaries that feed Holiday Lake.

6.         Byrds Creek, and its major tributary, Three Mile Creek, drains the northern half of Lake Tansi Village and the area between Lantana Rd and 127, east of One Mile Creek (a tributary to Byrds Creek).  It continues north, draining the Homestead area before joining Daddys Creek at Hwy 70, east of Crossville.

7.          Daddys Creek, is not currently listed as impaired but is being affected by both Byrds Creek (and its tributaries Three Mile Creek and One Mile Creek), as well as the development of Fairfield Glade, more than half of which drains to Daddys Creek.  The watershed north of US 70 to the bridge at Peavine Road has been surveyed and is currently being analyzed before recommendations are made.

Why is this important? 
There are three important reasons for this project. The first is that Crossville and Cumberland County are blessed with some of the greatest natural beauty in the world and we have the responsibility to not only enjoy it, but to protect it for our children and future generations.  The second is that Crossville and Cumberland County have grown rapidly and are continuing to convert what was farmland and woodlands into residential and commercial areas.  Since developed areas don’t absorb rainfall well, the water runs off and heads into the streams and off the Plateau.  While that seems good, it means that the water doesn’t have the chance to soak into the ground and make its way into our wells and streams at a more even pace. The third reason is that Crossville has grown to where it is now under state and federal regulations regarding protecting the streams.  If we can identify the problems and help landowners voluntarily address them, we can solve a problem without having mandatory requirements.  When governmental agencies work with local citizens we can come up with workable and sensible solutions.

How does the project work? 
The Stream Assessment phase began in February 2007 and continued through 2009 with new streams surveyed each year.  The first year One Mile Creek, Long Branch, and the Obed River segment and its tributaries were surveyed.  In 2008, the survey of the Little Obed was completed and the surveys of the Upper Obed and Byrds Creek were completed in 2009.  Using volunteers, we take observations of the streams to identify the places where siltation and erosion is occurring.
Once problem area have been identified,
we work with landowners to restore and stabilize stream banks as well as other practices to reduce stormwater impacts on streams.  Since 2009, over four miles of stream have been restored, a number of wetlands have been enhanced and a number of projects have been completed to slow down stormwater and let it soak in the ground during storm events.  In 2013-14, over 100 additional stream miles are being surveyed which will identify additional areas where restoration may be helpful.

How is the public involved?
The Obed Watershed Community Association is a membership organization made up of people from Cumberland County.  Its purpose is to protect and enhance the natural and cultural heritage of the community.  As a voluntary organization, we conduct educational programs to inform people of challenges we face and provide information that people can use to meet these challenges.  We believe in the importance of citizen involvement in making decisions for our community.  The Stream Monitoring and Restoration Project will provide three ways for the public to become involved in addressing the problems of these streams.
  • The first way is through public input meetings for each stream area.  Here, we ask the people living near the streams to  identify concerns and strategies for addressing the problems. 
  • The second way to be involved is through participation in a stream restoration project. Many strategies, ranging from rain barrels and capture systems, rain gardens and keeping woody vegetation along the border of a stream to actually repairing a streambank that is eroding can all contribute to improved water quality and better life in the stream.
  • The third way that the public is involved is as Volunteer Water Quality Monitors.  Interested residents are trained to make regular observations of the stream that they are nearest.  This information is used to identify those parts of the stream that need help and those that are in good shape, and also to see how the stream changes over time.  Being a Volunteer Monitor does not require a science background.  Monitors are trained in how to make the observations in a standardized way and to use simply monitoring methods.
To Get Involved, please contact us or visit our Volunteer Information page.