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Sumner County Water Resources

November 29, 2022

Sumner County, including Hendersonville, Gallatin, and Goodlettsville, is one of the many places across the Cumberland River basin where the Cumberland River Compact does our work to steward water resources. The Cumberland River Compact strives to provide clean and abundant water for all life of the Cumberland River basin. Our mission is to enhance the health and enjoyment of the Cumberland River and its tributaries through education, collaboration, and action. One of the best ways that we work toward our mission of enhancing water quality and health is through engaging communities to care about and take care of the water in their homeplaces. 

Discover the health of your local waterway!

Your Watersheds

Waters that fall upon and flow through Hendersonville are in the Old Hickory Lake watershed and make their way to an impounded section of the Cumberland River known as Old Hickory Lake, a reservoir created by an Army Corps of Engineers dam in 1954. The reservoir and watershed are named for the nation’s seventh president, Andrew Jackson, whose nickname was Old Hickory.

At 983 square miles, the watershed is one of the largest of the four in the Middle Tennessee region. It is home to Bledsoe Creek State Park, the Taylor Hollow State Natural Area, and several state wildlife management areas including the 6,000-acre Old Hickory Wildlife Management Area.

Spring Creek Bladderpod (Credit: TN Division of Natural Areas)

Sections of Goose Creek and Bledsoe Creek are listed on the Nationwide Rivers Inventory – a federal listing of streams with outstanding scenic, recreational, or cultural attributes. A number of endangered species are found in the watershed, including 10 species of freshwater mussels and the Spring Creek bladderpod, a flower that only blooms in the floodplains of three Old Hickory watershed creeks.

The Old Hickory watershed is also impacted by water pollution. The most common water issues within the Old Hickory Watershed are nutrients, altered streamside vegetation, and pathogen pollution. The sources of impairment include agriculture, urban stormwater runoff, and sewer overflows.

If you are interested in receiving watershed maps for your community, please contact us:

Here’s How You Can Help Your Local Waterway


Leading your community in improving water quality and the health of the Old Hickory watershed is one of the best ways you can get involved in our work. Our Adopt-A-Stream program engages volunteers in stewardship work that improves the water quality of our streams and rivers.

If you adopt, you agree to care for a local stream segment for two years. This includes completing one or more stream stewardship activities (like a stream clean-up!) with your group annually. 

For more information about Adopt-A-Stream and to view a map of current adoptions and stewardship events, visit our website.

Store, Use, and Dispose of Fluids Properly

Only rain goes down the drain! Storm drains throughout your community directly connect our waterways so whatever you see go down the drain will end up in the water. Make sure to properly dispose of used oils and other household items by taking them to a recycling facility. Report discharges to the City of Hendersonville or City of Gallatin.

Become a Clean Marina


Boaters can help protect the very resource they rely on (clean water!) by being a good environmental steward and becoming a Clean Marina! The program is a voluntary program implemented by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District and its watershed partners to promote environmentally responsible marina and boating practices. You can contact the Resource Manager’s Office to learn more.

Plant a Rain Garden

Runoff from heavy rain events into streams can cause erosion, flooding, habitat loss, and polluted waterways. A rain garden is a shallow, depressed garden designed to collect rainwater and allow it time to filter into the ground. The result is cleaner water and less dirty runoff overwhelming our storm systems and waterways.

Trees help to filter and regulate the flow of stormwater, cleaning our water and reducing flood risk. In addition to these benefits to our water system, they also reduce extreme heat in cities, provide habitat, and help to filter out air pollution, leading to lower rates of respiratory conditions like asthma. 

We have a complete manual about creating your own rain garden that you can find here.

You can also find a how-to and our recommendations of plants to include in your rain garden on our blog. 

Limit Fertilizer

Photo by Oregon State University

Fertilizers, pesticides, and other pollutants can attach themselves to soil particles and find their way to your creek. This can lead to a nutrient impairment in the waterway and lead to things like harmful algal blooms. You can get a soil test by UT Extension so you can determine the specific fertilizer needs for your lawn.

Disconnect Your Downspout

Photo by City of Seattle

When the runoff from your roof flows into your gutters, down your downspouts, and out to a driveway or road, it carries harmful pollution with it. You can disconnect your downspout to let it naturally flow into your yard. Better yet, you can connect your downspout to a rain garden or rain barrel!

Schedule a meeting with the Compact

Are you interested in learning more about the Cumberland River Compact and the work we do? Would you like us to come talk at your group or community meeting? Email to request a staff member to attend your next meeting or event.