'Water Policy Updates'

TDEC Just Released a List of Impaired Streams for Tennessee

May 28th, 2010 by News from the Little River

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation

just released the Draft Version for the 2010 303(d) list.

This document is a result of years of aquatic surveys measuring biological species diversity along with bacterial and chemical composition.  For those interested in reviewing stream condition in our watershed, the tributaries of  Little River Watershed begins on page 74 listed under the Upper Tennessee River Basin.   The Upper Tennessee River Basin includes the watersheds for the Little River, Fort Loudoun Reservoir and Watts Bar Reservoir.

Follow the link below to the TDEC website for a PDF copy of the document.

Draft 2010 303(d) list

Unfortunately, there are no streams listed on the 2008 303(d) which are eligible for delisting on the 2010 303(d) list due to improved water quality.

The Little River Watershed is the home to (6) Endangered Species.  The preservation of aquatic habitat is essential for their survival.


Duskytail Darter Etheostoma percnurum

Snail Darter Percina tanasi

Fresh Water Mussels

Fine-rayed Pigtoe Fusconaia cuneolus

Pink Mucket Pearlymussel Lampsilis abrupta

Orange-foot Pmipleback Pearlymussel Plethobasus cooperianus

Fresh Water Snail

Anthonys River Snail Athearnia anthonyi


Maryville Daily Times Reports on Recent Changes to the Stormwater Regulations

Sep 22nd, 2009 by News from the Little River

According to the Daily Times, recent decisions by the Blount County Commission to weaken the stormwater regulations could affect the Building Commissioner’s ability to enforce development in flood hazard areas. The County elected to participate in the National Flood Insurance Program which requires permitting for development within flood hazard areas. Development of floodplain management regulations is one requirement for participation in the National Flood Insurance Program.

The Commission recently re-instated some of the authorities of the Stormwater Department with respect to inspection and permitting of work sites.

See two recent articles here:

Grading Permit Changes and Floodplain Confusion

Blount Commission Approves Erosion Control Standards


County to Fund Environmental Projects in lieu of Payment for State Stormwater Fine

May 13th, 2009 by News from the Little River

On May 19, the Tennessee Water Quality Control Board will consider an agreed order that would allow the county to offset $5,000 of an imposed stormwater fine through funding several environmental projects. The remaining $5,000 would not be levied unless the county is cited for another violation within a year.  The County Commission last year voted to appeal the $10,000 state fine for the county’s failure to implement adequate stream buffer zones and other storm water-related regulations.  See the Daily Times for further details.



Floodplain Easements Available Under Stimulus Plan

Apr 8th, 2009 by News from the Little River

March 10, 2009


(NASHVILLE)-Tennessee landowners have a chance of tapping into $145 Million set aside by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to restore thousands of acres of frequently flooded land to its natural state. The funds are available through the floodplain easement component of the Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Program. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the funds will restore land and create jobs since the money is part of recently passed legislation aimed at revitalizing the economy.

Landowners can sign up for the easements through April, 10th 2009 at their local USDA Service Center. “We will be working with landowners who voluntarily agree to restore the floodplains to their natural condition by placing their land into easements,” Vilsack said. “These easements will convert environmentally sensitive lands into riparian corridors and wooded bottomlands that are so vital for fish and wildlife habitat and to mitigate downstream flooding.” Vilsack said green jobs can be created in rural communities nationwide when landowners establish conservation practices on the easement land.

State Conservationist Kevin Brown, who directs the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Tennessee, says the job creation component of the measure benefits many fields of work. “Jobs will be created mostly in the land surveying, engineering, biology and construction fields when trees and native grasses are planted and the hydrology of the floodplain is restored,” Brown said. “Taxpayers will benefit from cleaner water and by no longer having to make crop disaster payments to producers who have experienced past crop failures due to flooding.”

The funding, obtained from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, includes both technical and financial assistance to restore the easements. All funds will be spent on targeted projects that can be completed with economic stimulus monies. The goal is to have all floodplain easements acquired and restored within 12-18 months. No more than $30 million can be spent in any one state.

Tennessee’s portion of the total $145 Million is not yet known. Brown says it depends on the level of interest among Tennessee landowners. “The dollars coming to Tennessee are contingent on the number of good applications we receive,” Brown said. “The more interest there is in Tennessee, the greater our portion of the $145 Million will be.”

The EWP Program’s floodplain easement component allows NRCS to purchase easements on lands damaged by flooding. The restored floodplain will generate many public benefits, such as increased flood protection, enhanced fish and wildlife habitat, improved water quality, and a reduced need for future public disaster assistance. Other benefits include reduced energy consumption when certain agricultural activities and practices are eliminated and increased carbon sequestration as permanent vegetative cover is re-established.

Interested landowners can contact their local USDA Service Center for more information or visit

The TN NRCS website also has information:

We have an opportunity of historic proportions to permanently protect the floodplains in the state. This funding will be available to individuals, state and local governments where land has been damaged by flooding once in the last 12 months or twice in the last 10 years. Land is also eligible if it would be inundated as a result of a dam breach.


Blount County Commission Votes on Stormwater Regulation

Mar 20th, 2009 by News from the Little River

–From the Maryville Daily Times–

The Blount County commission voted to weaken current stormwater regulations regarding grading, erosion and sedimentation. The commission voted 14-3 to reduce the coverage area of the regulations to only apply within the urbanized areas of the county and to weaken them by only requiring grading permits for disturbing an acre or more of land. Commissioners Hasty, Murrell and Reeves voted no.

Cathy Rhodes, executive director of the Little River Watershed Assocation, had urged the commissioners to consider the possible effects on the county’s drinking water.  “As a private citizen, I have a right to clean water,” Rhodes said. “So does everyone in this room. As commissioners, you have the job of protecting the rights of everyone.”  Planning Director John Lamb said that half of all the subdivisions developed in the county were outside the municipal jurisdictions, including the Urban Growth Boundaries of the cities.  “Do not take steps backward from our commitment to water quality in the whole county,” Lamb said.

See the full Daily Times Article here.


Follow Tennessee State Legislation Impacting Water

Mar 14th, 2009 by News from the Little River

This site provides a good compilation of Tennessee State and House bills that are making their way through the 2009 Tennessee General Assembly.  Check this link for current bill status and sponsor information.