Cooper Creek

ADOPTED BY: Friends of Cooper Creek
PROGRAM: Metro Adopt-A-Stream

The purple boundary in the map below outlines Cooper Creek's watershed. When it rains, water that falls within this boundary eventually finds its way to the creek. Cooper Creek is directly impacted by all land within this purple drainage boundary. The blue lines represent Cooper Creek and also one of its tributaries. The highlighted yellow portion of Cooper Creek is section adopted by Friends of Cooper Creek. (Click here for a parcel map of Davidson County)

Any stewardship activities you do within these boundaries will improve the condition of your waterway.

Information on this page was compiled using resources from iCreek

Cooper Creek is considered unhealthy by the State of Tennessee as a result of two problems — Pathogens and In-Stream Habitat Alteration. (View section in iCreek

Photo by Jed Grubbs

Photo by Jed Grubbs

Pathogens indicate that water is contaminated by human or animal waste. In urban areas, pathogens end up in creeks when sewer lines leak or when dog owners don’t pick up their pet’s waste. Pathogen problems are most often linked with heavy rainfall, which can overwhelm older sewer systems and/or wash pathogens from neglected pet waste into our waterways. Pet waste that is left in the street, dog park, or even a person's backyard contributes to major water quality problems in Nashville.

Photo by Robert Lawton

Photo by Robert Lawton


In-Stream Habitat Alteration refers to lost in-stream habitat due to human modification of a waterway’s bed, banks, or flow. Modification of a stream’s bed or banks happens when streams are channelized, sent through culverts, dammed, dredged or filled. Out of stream infrastructure, such as curbs and gutters, storm-drains, and concrete ditches alter the rate of flow that enters a stream, quickly ushering water off impervious surfaces and sending it rushing into the stream channel. These modifications to streams result in an alteration of in-stream habitat. These alterations can disrupt aquatic species reproductive cycles or simply make living conditions impossible for some species.

How To Help With These Problems!

Pick up after your pet.
Pick up after your pet when s/he is on a walk, at the dog park, or in your own backyard. Dispose of this waste in the trash or toilet. Many pet stores and retailers sell biodegradable bags for picking up waste. Some companies in the region offer pet waste removal services. You can also start a pet education campaign in your neighborhood. Resources include:

This stewardship activity will address the pathogen problem in Cooper Creek.

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 our waterways and provide other water quality benefits that far exceed those of a mowed lawn. Resources include:

This stewardship activity will address the pathogen and habitat alteration problems in Cooper Creek.

Plant a rain garden.
Rain gardens can filter and infiltrate stormwater that flows across your yard. Resources include:

This stewardship activity will address the pathogen problem in Cooper Creek.

Plant natives.
Plant native plants and grasses in your yard. These require less water and fertilizer. Resources include:

This stewardship activity will address the pathogen and habitat alteration problems in Cooper Creek.

Limit impervious surfaces.
Ensure that your downspouts drain to vegetation, gravel, or rainbarrels, rather than pervious surfaces, which contribute to polluted stormwater runoff. 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:

This stewardship activity will address the pathogen and habitat alteration problems in Cooper Creek.

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.

This stewardship activity will address the habitat alteration problem in Cooper Creek.

Plan for a better future.
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. Resources include:

Engage with your representatives and make your vote count.
One of the easiest ways to promote water quality is to keep up with and engage with your representatives. When they're working on behalf of your water resources, let them know you appreciate it! If you think they could do better, don't keep it to yourself! Consider scheduling time to speak with them about water quality in your stream or inviting them to a community meeting on the subject. If you're not registered to vote, get registered. When it comes time to vote, vote for candidates who understand and will help address the problems in our waterways. The links below will help you find out who represents you and how you can stay engaged with them.

Support your local watershed stewards.
There's a lot of work to be done! But, working together we can make a difference. Support Friends of Cooper Creek by becoming a member, volunteering your time, or by connecting with them on Facebook.

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.


The Cumberland River Compact proudly works with Metro Water Services
to facilitate this and all other Metro Nashville stream adoptions.


Additional support provided by The Nature Conservancy of Tennessee.