...Pollution flows to Richland Creek

We have degraded our streams

Richland Creek has several environmental concerns and does not meet its classified designated uses — criteria for fish and aquatic life, and recreation uses. Stakeholders can request regulatory requirements be met and can help our creeks able to thrive again.

What is the importance of a riparian area?  Riparian refers to the land and plant ecology along waterways (river banks).  They protect streams and provide food, shelter and movement for wildlife.  Estimated as only 1% of the landscape, riparian land is unique and more diverse than other type of landscape, but much has disappeared. The tree canopy over the stream helps maintain a cool temperature for healthy dissolved oxygen levels. The vegetation filtrates pollution from urban run-off and stabilizes stream banks.  Continuous riparian corridors are vital to the web of life,  aquatic and terrestrial. Riparian corridors are the most important component for maintaining a healthy, thriving stream.

Richland Creek is a free flowing spring-fed perennial stream,    draining a 28.5 square. mile land area (green on map).  Red segments on the Richland Creek Damage Reach Map indicate "repetitive loss" areas on major branches in our watershed identified in Nashville's Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan. Richland Creek flows north into the Cumberland River at river mile 175.6 and is located in west Nashville, between Bells Bend and Radnor Lake.

The full report prepared for the Office of Emergency Management by AMEC Earth & Environmental can be found here.

Protecting our stream corridors make good flood defense

Urban flooding occurs as a result of land loosing its ability to absorb rainfall, by the conversion of open land to nonabsorbent surfaces (buildings, roads, parking areas). Urbanization causes flash flooding — increases runoff 2-6 times more that what would have occurred on the undeveloped land.  Stream alterations are engineered with the intent to protect one place from flooding but can agitate flooding in other areas of the stream system.  

Building in flood zones and stream conversion, such as filling-in wetlands, shortening or straightening streams, putting them to bed (bury) or into culverts, decreases water storage areas that can have costly consequences.  Upstream flooding occurs from downstream conditions, such as channel restriction, high urban run-off flow or floodway obstructions.

What is the difference between a floodway and floodplain?  

More from FEMA....

Urbanization and human activities threaten the sustainability of our streams 

Urban run-off is delivering a toxic soup to streams and rivers

Excessive development eliminates filtration of run-off and protection of riparian areas

Trash accumulation in streams adds to the degradation

Overuse of fertilizers and other turf chemicals degrades stream habitat & water quality

Low-head dams inhibits healthy flow, connectivity, habitat & fish populations

Excessive water-use of stream degrades water quality

Official 303(d) reports call Richland Creek "impaired."  The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) 2010 reported “impaired waters” for Richland Creek in the TDEC Water Pollution Control Publications.  Streams in our watershed are found in the Cheatham Reservoir section.  More detailed information is in the EPA data on Impaired Waters of Richland Creek.  Click on various branches: Jocelyn Hollow, Murphy, Vaughns Gap, Sugartree, Unnamed Tributary, Belle Meade or the main stem, Richland Creek to see maps and find out more.

Stakeholders can request Richland Creek be better protected so stream life can recover.
 TWRA fish surveys conducted for the instream flow study (2009, 2010) recognized that "pollution tolerant" species were found more prevalent in Richland Creek than native fish species... unable to compete in poor stream conditions.
 

Richland Creek Watershed Alliance members...

are savvy creekwatchers working to restore value back to streams,

promote the historic significance of Richland Creek,

want nature's splendor to enjoy close to home and

know protecting stream corridors is important because...

water is a limited resource and  essential for all life, 

streams are life flowing and what is healthy for fish is good for people.

We are the voice for stream life.

Some comments received from long-time residents when we first got started...

"I remember when the creek's water level was 10 feet"

"We use to fish from the creek but are afraid to now."

"My kids would bring home turtles and frogs from the creek but now m y grand-kids find them with two heads and other deformities"
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