Middle Cumberland

Middle Cumberland watershed

About the Middle Cumberland watershed

Drainage Area

649 square miles

Notable Tributaries

  • Sycamore Creek
  • Mill Creek


  • Cheatham County, TN
  • Davidson County, TN
  • Robertson County. TN
  • Rutherford County, TN
  • Sumner County, TN
  • Williamson County. TN

The Middle Cumberland watershed (AKA Cheatham Lake watershed) drains to an impounded section of the Cumberland River known as Cheatham reservoir. This reservoir is a result of an Army Corps of Engineers dam completed in 1952.

The watershed’s area includes an extensive Metro Nashville parks system that includes Shelby Bottoms, Bells Bend, Beaman, and Peeler parks, as well as portions of the 3,100 acre Warner Parks, and over half of the 32,000 acre Cheatham State Wildlife Management Area. Sycamore Creek flows in a northern arc over much of the watershed and is listed on the Nationwide Rivers Inventory. 

The Cheatham Lake watershed is home to nearly 600,000 people, but humans aren’t the area’s only inhabitants. Urban canoers can spot federally endangered Nashville Crayfish scuttling across the Mill Creek’s slabby bedrock. Visitors to Shelby Bottoms are serenaded by a chorus of frogs from the Cumberland’s floodplain. Singers include spring peepers, southern leopard frogs, green frogs, tree frogs and others at diff erent times of the year. Even within many of the region’s heavily urbanized streams, resilient species of fish, like rock bass, manage to survive.

Explore the Middle Cumberland watershed