May 1, 2002 - Inside this Issue!

1. VICTORY!:  Settlement Reached to Prevent Discharge into Dry Fork Creek
2.  ANNOUNCEMENT:  American Wetlands Month is May!
4.  EVENT - Harpeth River Watershed Association Open House
6.  EVENT - National River Cleanup Day at the Obed Wild and Scenic River
7.  GRANT - Available for Tree Planting on Public Land


1.  VICTORY!:  Settlement Reached to Prevent Discharge into Dry Fork  Creek

Two months after Chancellor Ellen Lyle ordered a stay to prevent operation of the Spencer sewage treatment plant a settlement has been reached to prevent discharge of treated wastewater into the protected Dry Fork Creek in Van Buren County, TN. The stream and the underlying cave system, Rumbling Falls, have been at the center of a battle regarding wastewater discharge and the protection of Tennessee's natural resources.

The agreement reached between environmental groups, the State of Tennesseevand the City of Spencer prevents any discharge to Dry Fork Creek and requires the State to hold mandatory meetings with the environmental coalition during the next 90 days to craft changes to rules and procedures administered by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. The meetings will focus on public participation during the environmental review process and improvements in the classification and protection of streams throughout the state.

 John Noel, a board member for the Tennessee Environmental Council and coordinator of the coalition of environmental groups, stated his satisfaction with the settlement, "We were able to protect a high quality stream and a globally significant cave system. That's quite a victory. In addition, we know the wastewater now will be as clean as possible."

The Nashville Grotto was instrumental in the decision. Grotto Chairman Bill Overton said, "Most folks don't know what an incredible system of caves we have in Tennessee. I'm very glad this settlement will protect the Rumbling Falls Cave system, which may be one of the most significant in the country."

"We've taken a step to protect high quality streams in this state from degradation. We think this agreement will change the way the state does business when it comes to discharging wastewater into streams," added Daniel Boone, representing the Tennessee Scenic Rivers Association.

Judge Barbara Haynes directed the mediated settlement. For the past two years numerous groups have joined the effort to protect Dry Fork Creek, including the Nashville Grotto, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, Sierra Club, Tennessee Environmental Council, Tennessee Scenic Rivers Association and the World Wildlife Fund. (From PEER News Reports)

2.  ANNOUNCEMENT:  American Wetlands Month is May!

Please celebrate with the Izaak Walton League at one of the following events. More events are listed on our web site at Also, please add any wetland events that you are coordinating in May or throughout the year to the League's wetlands activities calendar at the link listed above. For more information about American Wetlands Month and other ways to get involved in wetland conservation, please visit


DATE: May 3 & 4, 2002
CONTACT: Richard Wall -615-497-5250 or Rita Harris 901-324-7737

The Tennessee Environmental Primer conference will provide current environmental information on a host of topics relevant to citizens of Tennessee.  Mack Prichard, the Tennessee State Naturalist, will be the keynote speaker at the conference opening session on Friday at 1:00 pm.

Friday May 3
10 -12 am - Registration
12-1 pm Lunch
1-3 pm Opening Session with Mack Prichard
3-5 pm Workshops (see following descriptions and speakers)
6:00 pm Dinner
8:00 pm Queen of Hearts,  Benefit Concert

8:00 Breakfast
9-11 - Workshops
12-1 Lunch
1-3 Workshops
3-5 Workshops

The following workshops have been scheduled:

5/3 - 3-5pm and 5/4 - 9-11am
TDOT and Transportation issues in Tennessee Judy Takats of the World Wildlife Fund, Jeanne Stevens of  Nashville's Metropolitan Planning Organization coordinator and Theresa Hutchins Community Planner for the Federal Highway Administration.

5/3 - 3-5 pm
Assessing Forest Loss on the Cumberland Plateau - Implications for Forest Policy in Tennessee

Jonathan Evans
Associate Professor of Biology
Director of the Landscape Analysis Laboratory at the University of the South

5/3 - 3-5pm
End Commercial Logging in the Cherokee National Forest
Catherine Murray and Dean Whitworth of Cherokee Forest Voices

5/4 - 9-11am
The State of our Parks in Tennessee
Cathleen Williams

5/4 - 9-11 am
Grassroots Organizing in Tennessee
Jeff Barrie - Alaska Wilderness Coalition

5/4 - 9-11 am
GIS Mapping & Community Advocacy
Cyndi Taylor, GIS Specialist, Vanderbilt University

Clean Water & TMDL's    Time Slots: Sat. Morning & Afternoon TBA
May Sligh, Tennessee Clean Water Network Board member, and community watershed organizer

A slide presentation to explain what is meant by the term "total maximum daily load."
And, a discussion about some of the state's rivers and streams that are impaired by pollution and what YOU can do to help restore our waters.
5/3 - 3-5 pm & 5/4 - 9-11 am
Media Smarts: Getting Your Issues Covered
Camilla Feibelman, Sierra Club Media Specialist, Washington, D.C.

5/4 - 10-11 am
How to be an Environmental Watchdog!            Time Slots: Fri.
Afternoon & Sat. Morn.
Sue A. Williams, Sierra Club Chickasaw Group (Shelby County) Vice Chair,
TN Chapter

Air Quality Chair and Vice Chair the Southeast Regional Conservation Committee
Receive tips on obtaining information from a variety of sources, attending public hearings, utilizing list-serves, and knowing what to say publicly.

Seeking Environmental Justice in Scarboro (Oakridge, TN)       

Time Slots: Sat, Morn & Afternoon

James Hill, Scarboro Environmental Justice Council, NAACP member, and TN Department of Environment & Conservation's (TDEC) Environmental Justice Strategic Plan Committee An overview of the struggle for answers and environmental justice in a neighborhood near the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge Reservation.  A presentation to explore the status of the process of involving the public in decision-making on the cleanup of contamination at the state's only nuclear weapons production and storage facility.

The Harpeth River Watershed Association is having an Open House Sunday May 5 in Franklin.


Sandy's Downtown Grille---corner of Fourth Avenue and Main Street.
4-7pm, Sunday May 5.
5:30-6:00pm presentations on the Harpeth River and HRWA projects.


*There will be creek critters and demonstrations to see.
*You can tour the office and meet board and committee members.
*Get a HRWA t-shirt with your membership of $30.
*Get a TN river poster--choose from three different ones.
    TN river posters are courtesy of the TN Wildlife Resources Agency.
*Enjoy appetizers and cash bar at Sandy's Downtown Grille.
* Purchase fossils and books-- proceeds benefit the HRWA.

BOOKS: "Harpeth River" by Jim Crutchfield
       "Canoeing in Tennessee" by Holly Sherwin.
       Both authors are HRWA members.

* Presentations on the Harpeth (great photos) and HRWA projects from 5:30-6:00.
* Get a copy of the 12-page newsletter: Voice for the Harpeth.

The Harpeth River watershed encompasses 872 square miles from Eagleville in Rutherford County, through Williamson County, Dickson, Davidson (Bellevue and Forest Hills), and Cheatham county where the Harpeth meets the Cumberland River.

There will be a pop quiz for all current members/supporters on "river-speak" definitions found in the newsletter!  (Just kidding!)

For more information, call the HRWA office:  790-9767.


By: GREG WILKERSON, Staff Writer    April 19, 2002 Mountain Press Sevierville TN

The French Broad River, below Douglas Dam, continues to increase its stock of ancient fish.  For the fourth time since the project began in 2000, a truckload of lake sturgeon were released into the river, this time much further down off Midway Road in Knox County.

About 700 of the baby fish were released Wednesday. Sturgeon, which were around before the dinosaurs, can grow to several feet long and live for more than 100 years. About 10,000 have been released since the program's start.

"It'll be 30 to 35 years from now before we know if this is a success," said Richard Kirk of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. "This project will actually span generations."

TWRA is conducting the experiment along with the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Fish and Wildlife Service, Conservation Fisheries Inc., the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga and the Wilderness Wildlife Fund.

"The females are anywhere from 15 to 25 before they start reproducing," said Ed Scott of TVA. They give birth every four to five years once they reach maturity. "We are having survival," he said.

A radio collar test showed an 80 percent survival rate for the first year. Four sturgeon have been recovered by researchers, but the public is not encouraged to search them out.

"They're endangered in Tennessee," Kirk said. People "shouldn't be fishing for them."

If someone does catch one, however, "we would really like to know when and where," Scott said. Any person who catches one would be helping the project if they measure it before letting it go, and report it to TWRA.

"In February, a sauger fisherman caught a 22-inch sturgeon," Scott said. "They realized it was a sturgeon. They measured it and released it."

Tuesday night Scott was told by other people that two had been caught that were 11 and 13 inches long.

To report the capture of a sturgeon, phone TWRA's Morristown office at 1-800-332-0900.

What: National River Cleanup Day at the Obed WSR
Where:  Clear Creek at Lilly area and Emory River at Nemo
When: Saturday, May 18, 2002, 9:00 a.m.- noon
Meet at Obed WSR visitor center in Wartburg at 9:00 a.m. to sign up as park volunteers and
from there go to the cleanup sites.

For more info, contact Park Ranger Arthur McDade at the Obed WSR 423-346-6294.  If you are planning to attend, please let him know.  The Obed WSR will provide lunch for attendees if you let him know you'll be there.

7.     GRANT - Available for Tree Planting on Public Land

The National Tree Trust has announced the availability of its 2003 Tree Seedling Grants for planting projects on public land, through its Community Tree Planting Program.  Through this program, local governments, schools, and nonprofits can apply for tree seedlings to plant on public property with the help of volunteers.  The deadline for applications is May 31, 2002.
For more information, click on the following URL:

Tennessee Clean Water Network E-News

This newsletter is intended to provide a quick look at current clean
water issues in Tennessee, in addition to resources available to the
concerned citizen.

Visit our website ( to find more detailed information.

Comments and submissions for the newsletter are welcome.  Send to
[email protected]   or to   [email protected] or call us at
865/522-7007.  Thanks for your participation!