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Urban Water Stewardship

What is Urban Stream Syndrome?

Urban Stream Syndrome is defined by the EPA as the “consistently observed ecological degradation of streams draining urban land.” Many urban streams in the Cumberland River basin are impacted by urban land use which is why the Cumberland River Compact partners with cities to come up with green solutions to stormwater pollution. Trees, rainwater harvesting, green infrastructure, and DePave are some of the ways we combat Urban Stream Syndrome.

TREES

One tree can intercept over 1,500 gallons of stormwater per year.

Cities need trees! Trees filter pollutants from stormwater, clean the air, regulate temperature, prevent erosion, and provide habitat and shade for wildlife. Trees are crucial to protecting waterways and public health.

ROOT NASHVILLE OPERATIONAL PARTNER

The Cumberland River Compact leads Nashville in a city-wide effort, Root Nashville, to replant our urban tree canopy and ensure it grows to help make Nashville a cleaner, healthier, and cooler city. Learn More about the campaign, the partners, and how you can get involved!

CHECK OUT ROOT NASHVILLE

APPLY FOR TREES FOR LARGE-SCALE PRIVATE PROPERTY


Through the Cumberland River Compact, the lead operational partner and fiscal agent of the Root Nashville campaign, applications for 10+ large, free trees for private property sites are accepted on a rolling basis. Openings are still available for the current planting season: October 2022-March 2023.

Program Guidelines

APPLY TODAY

WATERING NEWLY PLANTED TREES

While it’s important to plant trees, it’s just as important to maintain them. Through our Tree Care Program, newly planted trees are watered, pruned, and cared for to ensure their long-term survival.


STAY ENGAGED WITH ROOT NASHVILLE

Why Should I
Plant a Rain Garden?

A rain garden can be thought of as a personal water quality system because it filters the runoff from your roof and lawn and recharges the groundwater.

A properly constructed rain garden can capture and filter more than 40,000 gallons of stormwater each year! In highly urbanized areas, rain gardens can help reduce water leaving your property thereby reducing the threat of flash flooding for downhill neighbors.

Rain gardens also:

  • Attract beneficial insects that will help eliminate those pesky ones
  • Attract pollinators and song birds
  • Reduce standing water which will, in turn, reduce mosquito breeding

JOIN OUR RAIN GARDEN COMMUNITY

Request a consultation

RAIN GARDENS FOR NASHVILLE

The Cumberland River Compact is thrilled to lead Nashville in an effort to build rain gardens for healthier water. Since 2009, we’ve worked with our network of trusted engineers, landscape architects, and nurseries to assist us in this effort and planted over 500 rain gardens.

DOWNLOAD OUR FREE RESOURCE GUIDE

NASHVILLE RAIN GARDEN MAP

View the interactive map

RAIN BARRELS

A rain barrel is a system that collects and stores rainwater from the rooftop, that would otherwise be lost to runoff and be diverted to our neighborhood streams and storm drains.

Harvesting your own rainwater provides benefits for the environment and you:

  • Reduce the amount of polluted runoff that reaches our streams
  • Provide plants the water they like
  • Save energy and money used when water is processed to drinking quality standards
  • Save you money on your water bills
  • Provide water during drought periods

HOW TO MAKE A RAIN BARREL

WATCH A VIDEO READ AN ARTICLE

PURCHASE A RAIN BARREL

The Compact does not distribute rain barrels at this time, however Metro Water Services hosts an annual sale each year.

Go to the Sale

DEPAVE

Asphalt, concrete, and metal are impervious materials that do not allow water to sink into the soil, causing stormwater to flow into our streams at a much faster rate and in increased volumes. These heavy flows carry oils, pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, and trash into our streams.

Nashville is experiencing rapid growth. Where population growth occurs, an increase in manmade impervious surfaces is sure to follow. As we gain impervious surfaces, we are actively losing the pervious, water-absorbing surfaces essential for clean water and aquatic habitat.

The goal of Depave is to restore manmade, impervious surfaces back to their natural state. 

Do you have a paved site that you would like to turn into a garden, green space, or community park? 

The Cumberland River Compact is looking to partner with communities, institutions, businesses, or land owners to identify and transform depave sites in need of restoration. 

Propose a Project

DEPAVE WITH US

Requirements for Proposing Depave Nashville Projects

1. The site is currently paved! (e.g. abandoned or underutilized parking lots, vacant lots, or wide sidewalks with no trees are ideal for depaving). Note: Asphalt paving (<5” thick) or thin concrete are feasible surface covers. Sites with thick concrete building foundations (>6”) will be harder for us to handle.

2. The site is located in a frontline community that experiences urban heat island effect, air pollution, flooding, lack of park space, and/or other stressors due to an abundance of pavement, little tree canopy, and/or adjacent highways and industry. Depaving and greening the site should clearly and directly benefit the surrounding community.

3.The site should have support and advocacy by the land owner and/or community for depaving and greening. We understand if the proposer is in an early stage of developing this support.

 

How It Works

When you propose a project, our team will visit the site to assess feasibility of the project. The team will then reach out to schedule a meeting to talk about the project.

Following site selection and project acceptance, the team will work with the site owner and community to develop a design vision, test soil quality and infiltration rates, develop a budget and funding sources, submit required permitting, and do outreach with the community to generate interest and participation in the project. 

The actual depaving and transformation will include cutting up the asphalt, holding a depave volunteer day where volunteers pry up the asphalt to be hauled away, followed by laying down new healthy soil and planting the site with new trees, gardens, and other desired features. 

The Cumberland River Compact will work with the site host to develop a maintenance plan and to monitor the site in the years following.

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