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Problems

Siltation

Silt refers to the dirt, soil, or sediment that is carried and deposited by our water. While some silt in water is normal and healthy, many additional tons of silt find their way to our water every year, negatively impacting water quality. This pollution, known as siltation, results from erosion and land disturbing human activities, such as agriculture and construction.

Siltation negatively impacts ecosystems in many ways. Excessive silt clogs gills, and smothers eggs and nests. It can bury habitat aquatic insects need for survival, which impacts organisms up the food chain that eat these insects for survival. Siltation can also interfere with photosynthesis in aquatic plants resulting in a decrease in needed dissolved oxygen. Important components of aquatic habitat, which native aquatic species rely on for survival, are altered by siltation. These include the amount of light, the temperature, depth, and flow of water. In addition, pollutants like fertilizers, pathogens, pesticides, and heavy metals can be attached to soil particles that find their way to our water.

Siltation also increases levels of treatment needed for drinking water, fills up reservoirs and navigation channels, and increases a waterbodies likelihood of flooding.

Solutions

Click on the solution below for more information
  • Adopt

    Are you a member of a group or organization in your community that would be interested in adopting this waterway? Contact us if you’re interested in learning more about stream adoption.

    Learn more about adopting a stream

  • Allow for natural growth near waterways

    If you live or work next to a waterway, leave a 35′ to 100′ no mow zone on its banks. Allow natural and native plant growth in this buffer area or plant native trees, bushes, and groundcover. This vegetation can filter pollutants before they reach your waterway and provide other water quality benefits that far exceed those of a mowed lawn. Native plants and grasses require less watering and fertilizer and also provide important habitat for native species of wildlife.

    Resources include:

  • Plant a rain garden

    Rain gardens can filter and infiltrate stormwater that flows across your yard.

    Resources include:

  • Employ agricultural best management practices.

    Excluding farm animals from this waterway and providing them with alternative sources of water can prevent animals from trampling streamside vegetation and defecating in the waterway.

    Resources include:

  • Reduce paved, impervious surfaces

    Impervious or impermeable surfaces, like pavement, contribute significantly to polluted stormwater runoff and alter stream flow habitat. If you’ve got excess pavement you’d like removed, consider a de-paving project with the Compact. Elsewhere, ensure that your downspouts drain to vegetation, gravel, or rainbarrels, rather than impervious surfaces. If you constructing or repairing your driveway, pervious pavement allows stormwater to infiltrate and filter through the ground. If you can’t do the whole drive, consider making only the portion closest to the street pervious.

    Resources include:
    1) De-paving Work – Cumberland River Compact (Call 615-837-1151)
    2) Rain Barrel Sales – Cumberland River Compact
    3) Rain Barrels Make Good Sense – UT Extension

  • Remove unused dams.

    If you have an antiquated or unneeded dam on your property, contact the Cumberland River Compact to discuss the feasibility of removing it. Walk the stream and inventory the location of any dams or obstructions, and let the Compact know so we can add these to our database or potential removal projects.

    Resources include:

    • Dam Inventory, Removal and Stream Restoration – Cumberland River Compact
    • How Dams Damage Rivers and How Dams are Removed – American Rivers
  • Organize with others in your community. Make your voices heard and your votes count.

    Participate in community planning efforts and advocate for relevant measures that improve or protect water quality. Write to your elected official and let them know this is concern or invite them to speak about the impairment with your home-owners association. When elections come up, vote for candidates who will address the problem and hold them accountable to their promises. Support local watershed / environmental associations.

    Resources include:

  • Spread the word.

    Do your neighbors, family, or roommates know about the problem? Now that you know how to be an effective steward, enlist the help of others in your neighborhood. Share iCreek or resources within it with your neighbors and encourage them to join the effort to protect your creek.

  • Limit fertilizers and pesticide use

    Fertilizers, pesticides and other pollutants can attach themselves to soil particles and find their way to your creek.

    Resources include:

    • Soil Test to Determine Fertilizer Needs of Your Soil – University of Tennessee Soil, Plant, and Pest Center
    • How to Soil Sample a Lawn or Garden – UT Extension
    • Principles of Home Landscape Fertilization – UT Extension
    • Nutrient Outreach and Educational Materials – EPA
    • UT Municipal Technical Advisory Service provides a number of related educational resources including Lawn and Garden Fertilizers, Lawn Watering, and Managing Leaves and Yard Trimmings.
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