ADOPTED BY: Swiftwick
PROGRAM: Metro Adopt-A-Stream
The purple boundary in the map below outlines Mill Creek's watershed. When it rains, water that falls within this boundary eventually finds its way to the creek. This section of Mill Creek is directly impacted by all land within the purple drainage boundary. The blue line represents Mill Creek, while the highlighted yellow portion is the section adopted by Swiftwick. Stewardship activities performed on land or water anywhere within these purple watershed boundaries will improve the condition of Mill Creek.
In a watershed with increasing development pressure, stewards like you are a valuable resource for your community. The Center for Watershed Protection has found that watershed's with over 10% impervious surface (e.g. parking lots, roads, buildings, etc.) experience water quality impacts. In addition, impervious surfaces cause flooding.
Conversely, forested and vegetated areas of your watershed provide valuable services as "green infrastructure." They filter pollutants and act as a sponge, soaking up rainwater, rather than sending it rushing into your creek, where increased velocity and volume can cause erosion and flooding. Green infrastructure is most beneficial along a waterway's banks (100' or more) and on steep slopes.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
There are many things you can do to help your creek. We've got some ideas and resources below, but don't be limited to these alone. If you've got ideas for other activities or questions in general, feel free to contact the Cumberland River Compact
- Remember to always ensure you have landowner permission before doing stewardship work on public or private land. Feel free to contact the Compact, if you need help obtaining permission.
- Please give the Compact two weeks notice prior to any planned stewardship activity.
- Want a waiver for volunteers to fill out? You can create your own from a generic waiver here.
Schedule a walk/cleanup.
There's no better way to get to know your creek, than by visiting it in person. Whether your wading, paddling, or walking alongside it, you'll end up with a much better sense of where it's healthy and where it's hurting if you pay it a visit. Adjacent land areas to the adopted section of the creek are currently underdevelopment for a greenway. However, a public access point where the creek crosses Pettus Rd. is accessible and would benefit from cleanups.
- Supplies (trash bags and gloves) for cleanups - Cumberland River Compact (Contact email@example.com / 615-837-1151)
- Example Stream Survey Guidelines - Cumberland River Compact
- Consolidated Litter Pickup - City of Nashville can pick up consolidated litter if given two weeks notice. The Compact can serve as a liaison in obtaining this service.
- Report Litter (If near road) - TN Department of Transportation
Plant (or allow for) natural growth near your waterway. Remove invasive species.
If permission from property owners along the waterway can be obtained, organize a planting of native trees, bushes, and groundcover. You could combine the event with invasive removals. Allowing a 35′ to 100′ no mow zone on a streams banks can filter pollutants before they reach our waterways and provide other water quality benefits that far exceed those of a mowed lawn. Natives plants also require less watering and fertilizer. Resources include:
If you can't do a planting, consider distributing free trees and educational information to the public somewhere in your adopted segment's watershed. Resources include:
- Free Trees for Properties Near Waterway (Late Fall - Early Spring) - Cumberland River Compact (615-837-1151)
- Shovels, Gloves, and Invasive Removal Tools - Cumberland River Compact
- Free Trees for TEC's Statewide 250K Tree Day (Each year in February) - TN Environmental Council (615.248.6500)
- Purchase Native Wildflower/Grass Alternatives to Mowed Grass - Roundstone Native Seed and/or Seedland
- Tennessee Aquatic Stream Clean Up and Riparian Tree Grant (Scroll to bottom of linked page for more info) - TN Wildlife Resources Agency
- Area plant suppliers advertising sale of natives include: Nashville Natives, GroWild, and Gardens of Babylon, Moore & Moore Garden Center, Native Gardens in Greenback.
Observe and document species in your watershed using iNaturalist.
Your adopted segment has its own iNaturalist page! You can visit it here. This page will allow you, others in your group, or anyone within the watershed to observe and record plant and animal species seen in the watershed. It also functions like a social media platform, allowing you to interact with others who are making observations and tell them about your adoption or stewardship efforts.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to become an admin for your page. This will allow you to import new observations made by anyone in the watershed and to better tailor your page to your group.
2018's City Nature Challenge will be April 27 - May 1. This event is a fun way to obtain species data in your watershed and engage with the larger region within a regional BioBlitz. Contact the Cumberland River Compact if you're interested in participating in the City Nature Challenge.
Distribute stewardship and educational materials in a public place for your waterway.
Consider passing out free soil sampling kits, pet waste bags, native wildflower seeds, and educational materials somewhere popular or public in the watershed. Soil sampling kits can help keep nutrient pollution from over-fertilized lawns out of the creek, pet waste bags can help keep out pathogens, and native wildflowers can filter out excess pathogens, nutrients, and silt. Other sections of Mill Creek are impacted by each of these pollutants.
- Soil Test Mailers (Courtesy of UT Soil, Plant and Pest Center), Pet Waste Bags, Native Wildflowers - Cumberland River Compact (Contact email@example.com / 615-837-1151)
Support public funding of water treatment plants and sewer infrastructure, as well as stormwater fees. Report sewer leakages and other water quality concerns.
Water related infrastructure is expensive and obtaining funding for necessary sewer and water treatment improvements is often a challenge for communities. However, public dollars are critical to our water quality and public health. Support your community's efforts to properly maintain it's water related infrastructure. Resources include:
- America's Infrastructure Report Card - American Society of Civil Engineers
- How Sewage Pollution Ends Up in Rivers - American Rivers
- Greening Water Infrastructure - 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 or to the media and let them know this is a 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:
- Advocacy Toolkit - TN Environmental Council
- Find Your Legislators - Federal Legislators; State Legislators
- Citizen Action Guide to Watershed Assessment and Restoration - TN Environmental Council
- Area watershed associations include the Cumberland River Compact and the Mill Creek Watershed Association.
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.
Additional support provided by The Nature Conservancy of Tennessee.