The Aslan Foundation sought TCWN’s assistance in the assessment of the Goose Creek Watershed in South Knoxville. Like many streams in urban areas and adjacent to heavily trafficked roadways, Goose Creek is severely unhealthy in certain stretches.
Goose Creek itself is 4.9 miles of waterways, which consists of the main steam as well as two major tributaries. All of which are within the city limits of Knoxville. All 4.9 miles are listed as impaired by siltation, habitat alterations, PCBs, and E. coli by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation in the biannual 303(d) list. The list attributes sedimentation and habitat alterations as the result of stormwater runoff from the impervious surfaces in the watershed. E. coli pollution results from runoff as well, but is added to as a result of wastewater treatment plant collection system failures such as overflows or leaks. The PCB contamination is a direct result of a hazardous waste site – the Witherspoon operations along Maryville Pike which broke down radioactive scrap from Oak Ridge Nuclear Facility for decades.
In June 2013 TCWN staff began walking the entire length of the main stem of Goose Creek to gather visual data and evaluate the creek’s needs. Beginning at its headwaters, we walked the stream in seven segments, typically within the stream channel itself. This enabled us to study the in-stream conditions and stream bed quality, as well as visually assess the stream banks and riparian area.
The problems documented in our report cannot be solved quickly, but most the solutions are known and available. Urban streams are revitalized all the time through practices such as daylighting, proper stormwater management, and stream bank restoration. There is certainly hope for Goose Creek and these recommendations will go a long way towards improving the health of Goose Creek.
Read TCWN’s Goose Creek Assessment