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Our vision is clean and abundant water

Three million people and thousands of species depend on clean water from the Cumberland River. Our job is to make sure they get it.

The Cumberland River Basin, one of the top three most biodiverse regions in the world, encompasses cities, farms, schools, factories, and neighborhoods. Our efforts in education, restoration, and outreach all contribute to keeping our water healthy.

We work on root problems of water pollution, both urban and rural. Our goal is to give people the tools to be smart, impactful stewards of their watershed and to constructively partner in policy planning with government agencies.

Meet Our Team

Mekayle Houghton

Executive Director

Contact Mekayle with inquiries related to:

  • Environmental concerns of the region

Nicholle Gerde

Development & Communications Director

Contact Nicholle with inquiries related to:

  • Media & Promotions
  • Corporate Engagement
  • Charitable giving

Will Caplenor

Field Operations Supervisor

Contact Will with inquiries related to:

  • Stream Restoration Projects
  • Depave

Jed Grubbs

Watershed Planning and Restoration Manager

Contact Jed with inquiries related to:

  • Watershed Planning
  • Compensatory Mitigation
  • Recreation in the Basin
  • GIS and Mapping

Catherine Price

Education and Outreach Manager

Contact Catherine with inquiries related to:

  • Waterfest
  • River Talks
  • K-12 Education Programs

Gray Perry

Grant Manager

Contact Gray with inquiries related to:

  • Watershed planning
  • Stream restoration

Meg Morgan

Root Nashville Campaign Manager

Contact Meg with inquiries related to:

  • Root Nashville

Ross Miller

Stream & Field Program Manager

Contact Ross with inquiries related to:

  • Adopt-A-Stream
  • Rain Gardens

Joe Chapman

Streams Coordinator

Contact Joe with inquiries related to:

  • Volunteer opportunities
  • Adopt-A-Stream
  • Stream cleanups

Morgan Florsheim

Events and Outreach Coordinator

Contact Morgan with inquiries related to:

  • Events in the River Center
  • Community event participation

Want to work with us?

Visit our careers page


  • Kaaren May 
    Board Chair
  • Michelle Scopel
    Vice Chair
  • Mark McDonald
  • Scott Ringenberg
  • Keith Aulson
  • Kim H. Bailey
  • Berdelle Campbell
  • Chris Cannon
  • Jason Carney
  • Chad Dorsey
  • Kim Carpenter Drake
  • W. Scott Gain
  • Treanor Granbery
  • Jamieson Gray
  • Anne Walker Harrison
  • Anne Hoos
  • Vena Jones
  • Brooks Matthews
  • Kaaren May
  • Cayce McAlister
  • Mark McDonald
  • Tom Motzny
  • Olawale Ogbonlowo
  • Craig Philip
  • Steve Rammer
  • Art Rebrovick
  • Scott Ringenberg
  • Michelle Scopel
  • Greg Shiflett
  • Alex Wade
  • Renée Wray-Davis


  • Phil Armor
  • Shirley Caldwell-Patterson
  • George Cate
  • Bill Coble
  • David Duhl
  • Bill Forrester
  • Pete Kopcsak
  • Skip Lawrence
  • Courtney Masters
  • Art Newby
  • Paul Sloan



Root Nashville plants the first 5,000 trees in a thirty year effort to restore Nashville’s tree canopy.


Launch of Compensatory Mitigation program opens opportunity for large scale stream restoration to restore habitat of imperiled species.


The Cumberland River Compact brings Depaving to Tennessee with volunteers peeling up asphalt and replacing oversized parking lots with gardens.


The Cumberland River Compact and the Nature Conservancy of Tennessee, with generous support from the National Fish and Wildlife Federation, partner to write a strategic plan for dam removal and then inventory and prioritize dam removals throughout Tennessee.


First year of Waterfest in Cumberland Park - a free, fun science fair with water slides and sno-cones attracts thousands each summer.


River Talks, An Educational Series at the Cumberland River Center is born.


The Cumberland River Compact moves into the Bridge Building.


The Cumberland River Compact launches Water for Schools initiative to Nashville Schools that harvests rainwater in 300-gallon cisterns for use in school gardens.


The Rain Garden Manual wins Tennessee Association of Landscape Architect’s highest honor.


The Sustainable Agriculture Initiative is funded by the Environmental Protection Agency to promote the reduction of pesticides in conventional farming.


The Compact partners with the Model Forest Policy Program’s southeast pilot case study for climate adaptation planning.


Cumberland River Compact is honored by Metro Park’s Nature Centers for their role in bringing a green roof, solar panels, and geothermal heating and cooling system to the parks nature centers.


The Cumberland River Compact partners with World Wildlife Fund and Coca-Cola Bottling to promote rain barrel use, and offer education about water reuse and conservation. World Wildlife Fund replicates the project internationally.


The Cumberland River Compact hosts the First Annual Dragon Boat Race and River Festival with 35 teams and over 800 paddlers. The Cumberland River Compact receives the TN Governor’s Conservation Stewardship Award for Building Green


The Cumberland River Compact begins its policy work, helping local officials establish buffer ordinances in rapidly developing counties like Robertson and Wilson.


With the Catfish Out of Water City Art Festival, the Cumberland River Compact auctions public sculptures for placement throughout Nashville.


The Cumberland River Compact begins its work inside Nashville with the Mid Cumberland Watershed Association.


The Cumberland River Compact starts the Red River watershed initiative.


The Cumberland River Compact’s Marina Committee develops the Clean Marina program with the Army Corps of Engineers.


The Cumberland River Compact starts the Harpeth River Watershed Initiative funded by the Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation and the Greater Nashville Regional Council.


The Water Quality Advisory Committee is established. The open committee is composed of scientists, policy makers, and government agencies to discuss and coordinate issues related to water quality in the Cumberland River Basin. The committee would go on to write the Sediment Study that identified sediment as the primary pollutant in the Cumberland River.


The Cumberland River Compact’s Charter is written.