'Informed Community'

Little River 101–Annual IBI Survey

Jul 3rd, 2014 by News from the Little River

You are invited to join TWRA, TDEC, TVA, UT and the Little River Watershed Association in the annual IBI survey, a field survey that gives a broad picture of the health of the Little River. The “Index of Biological Integrity” is conducted yearly to quantitatively assess changes in the composition of biologic communities and to accurately reflect the ecological complexity of river systems.

Friends of the Little River who wants to learn more about the biodiversity of the river by participating in this hands-on survey are invited to rsvp for either of the following sampling dates:

July 8th, 9:15am in Walland – meet at Coulter’s Bridge parking lot.
July 11th, 9:15am in Townsend – meet at the lot just upstream of the handicap parking area next to the river.

These dates may change due to weather conditions.  Please check back for updated information, as rain causes high waters and increases flow, and these conditions are not suitable for IBI sampling.

As a participant you may put on waders and assist the biologists in collecting and identifying fishes and macroinvertibrates, or you may assist from the shore.

Did You Know?

**The main purpose of the IBI project is to collect baseline information on game and non-game fish and macroinvertebrate populations in the region. This baseline data is necessary to update and expand the Tennessee Aquatic Database System (TADS) and aid in the management of fisheries resources in the region.

**The Little River represents an important recreational resource for the state both in consumptive and non-consumptive uses. It supports an active tubing/rafting industry and is an important recreational resource for local residents and tourists alike. It is also the municipal water source of the cities of Alcoa and Maryville.

**Little River provides critical habitat for species of special concern and is home to over 50 species of fish (four listed federally). Additionally, its upper reach supports one of east Tennessee’s better warm water sport fisheries.

**Several rare or endangered species of fish inhabit Little River, and thus, the protection of the watershed is a high priority of managing agencies and local conservation groups.

Please RSVP to snaildarter@littleriverwatershed.org if you would like to attend one of these events.  We will limit participation to the first 15 participants at each location.


LRWA Open House at Vienna Coffee

Nov 16th, 2013 by News from the Little River

LRWA is creating a Blueways Map of the Little River, partially funded by the Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation. The map will include public access locations, history of the Little River, identification of public and private land, river safety, and stewardship of the river and its watershed. On December 3rd, we will be hosting an open house for our friends and for community members who are interested in sharing stories and history of the Little River Watershed for us to include. Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation will present a check to LRWA during the event.

The open house will be held at 4:00pm on December 3rd at Vienna Coffee House, 212 College Street Maryville, TN 37804.

Please RSVP to snaildarter@littleriverwatershed.org or (865)980-2130. Space is limited.



Stream Monitoring Training, October 17th

Oct 8th, 2013 by News from the Little River
Stream Monitoring Program, Information Meeting for Interested Volunteers
October 17th, 5:30pm 
The Little River Watershed Association is beginning a new stream monitoring program to gain long-term data that represents the health of the Little River Watershed. This exciting new program is ideal for adults and students (high school and above) interested in collecting scientific data about a valuable resource in our community.

The program will require community volunteers to collect visual, physical, chemical and biological assessments once a month at sampling sites in the watershed along Reed and Pistol Creeks. Groups of three or more will be needed at each site, and sites need to be sampled once a month. Sites can be assessed in about one hour each. The total time commitment will depend on the number of volunteers we have.  All supplies will be provided, including chest waders if necessary. Students under 18 will need to be part of a group with an adult or teacher team leader.

Training will be held on Thursday, October 17, 5:30 p.m. at theLittle River Watershed Association office, 1006 E. Lamar Alexander Pkwy, inside Blount Historical Museum (next to Probation office)

Interested volunteers should RSVP by Oct. 14 to snaildarter@littleriverwatershed.org. Space is limited to 25 people.Attendees will walk down to Brown’s Creek for a test-run. Please dress appropriately, including a pair of shoes to get in the creek.

Why is this program needed?

The Little River originates in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and drains into a 380 square-mile area as it flows 60 miles through the cities of Townsend, Alcoa, and Maryville. The portion of the

Little River within the Park is classified as an Outstanding National Resource Water (ONRW) and an eco-region reference site by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC). However, downstream from the Park, the river is impacted by agricultural and development practices, urban runoff, and failing septic tanks. The quality of the river slowly degrades with increasing distance from the Park. Blount County is one of the most rapidly developing counties in Tennessee, increasing demands on our water resources. Of the 640 total stream miles within theLittle River Watershed, TDEC has classified 230 stream miles as impaired, which means that these streams do not support water quality standards. TDEC has also classified 18 miles of the LittleRiver as threatened due to a documented decline in species diversity.

How will the water quality be assessed?

Visual assessment:

Stream characteristics are scored on a scale from 1-10 based on narrative descriptions provided.

Physical assessment:

Stream flow is calculated by measuring the volume (length, width and depth) and dividing by the time it takes an object to travel the length. This will require entering the stream.

Chemical assessment:

LaMotte test kits are used to measure dissolved oxygen, biochemical oxygen demand, nitrate, phosphate, pH, water temperature, turbidity, and coliform bacteria.

Biological assessment:

Due to the time requirements, this assessment will be completed quarterly, separate from the other assessments. Macroinvertebrates will be collected using nets and buckets, then separated using an identification key and counted.

If you are interested in joining our volunteer monitoring team, we hope you can attend this informative meeting!
LRWA is also looking for other potential sampling sites! If you have a section you’d like us to consider, please contact us!

Stream School for Kids

Aug 28th, 2013 by News from the Little River
On August 24th, Little River Watershed Association held a Stream School for Kids to provide an array of water monitoring activities for our littlest friends of the river. This program was based on STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) concepts and incorporated environmental, chemical and aquatic sciences and stream flow mathematics.  The students learned how to measure the river flow, collect fish samples for a fish survey, observe macroinvertebrates, and run chemical tests on water samples.
Students learned that flow is a function of water volume and velocity.  It changes with weather, human interactions and topography, and impacts water quality, organism habitat, sediment transport and dissolved oxygen levels. The students then surveyed fish, an activity led by LRWA board member and TVA biologist Jon Mollish. A good sampling of the 50+ species of fish found in the Little River were observed.  Students then picked up river rocks to collect an array of macroinvertebrates including larvae of mayflies, stoneflies, caddisflies, dragonflies, water pennies, whirligig beetles and snails. Macroinvertebrates can help assess the quality of the river, since some are very sensitive to pollution.  Based on the organisms collected, including the large number of the most sensitive groups of macroinvertebrates, the student concluded that the river is very clean.


The last activity was testing the chemical composition of the river.  Students first checked the temperature (21 deg C /70 deg F) and discussed how it influences the amount of oxygen in the water, the rate of photosynthesis, and metabolic rates of organisms. They then measured turbidity, which is the relative clarity of water.  An excess of suspended material in the water column (like sediment) causes the water to look murky, and high turbidity levels increase water temperatures, reduces the amount of light penetration and thus photosynthesis, clogs fish gills, and smothers fish and benthic macroinvertebrate habitats. Turbidity levels were low, which is excellent! Then, using a chemical indicator added to water, they found the pH of the water to be 8, indicating good water quality. Lastly, students measured phosphate and nitrate levels.  Phosphate is a key element needed in plant and animal growth, and nitrogen is found in the cells of living things.  These nutrients are essential, but in excess are harmful to our ecosystem.  Both are major ingredients in fertilizers and runoff from farms and lawns can cause excess nutrients in the water. Phosphate is also found in human and animal waste, laundry waste, and cleaning and industrial processes.  The students found low concentrations of both, indicating good water quality. Based on all assessments, we concluded that the water quality of this section of Little River is good!


Thank you to all of our participants! We were joined by about 25 students and adults.  Our students were eager to learn and their adult counterparts were excellent participants as well!



VIP Floatilla – June 12th

Jun 22nd, 2013 by News from the Little River

On June 12, 2013, the Little River Watershed Association hosted a Floatilla for 25 community leaders and guests. The VIP Floatilla began with a hands-on look at the fish and macroinvertebrates.  The presentations were organized by Larry Everett and staff from TDEC, Joyce Coombs and staff from UT Fisheries, and Patrick Rakes and JR Shute from Conservation Fisheries.  After learning about the fish and macroinvertebrates found in Little River, guests were provided a box lunch under the shade trees on River John’s island. Guests then boarded canoes and paddled the lower Little River to the Alcoa Water Treatment Plant where they received a site tour from Dorothy Rader who works at the Alcoa Water Treatment plant.  It was a fun day and a great opportunity to showcase just how special the Little River is!

One attendee commented, “I found the whole experience informative and enjoyable. The demonstrations and talks by the various professionals monitoring and collecting data were interesting and enlightening. I found they set the stage well for provoking thoughts about Little River and the various natural and man-made threats as we subsequently floated on down the river.  Another stated, “I thoroughly enjoyed the tour of the Alcoa Water Plant – the presentation was informative and the tour of the actual plant facility fascinated me – the Alcoa Water Plant is an impressive facility and it is obvious the staff takes great pride in maintaining a pristine facility.”

Thank you to our guests and our technical providers!

The VIP floatilla is one of our favorite seasonal events!



Love our great greenway system? Attend a meeting on December 6th.

Nov 27th, 2012 by News from the Little River

Attend a meeting on December 6th to learn about area greenway plans and to hear about benefits including economic development, improved health and better transportation options. This is also an opportunity to share your thoughts on future trail and greenway connections for the region.

This meeting is sponsored by Plan East Tennessee, the Great Smoky Mountains Regional Greenway Council and the Knoxville Regional TPO and will be held from 5-7 p.m. Dec. 6 at the Blount County Public Library, Sharon Lawson Room, 508 North Cusick Street, Maryville.


LRWA Announces New AmeriCorps Volunteer

Aug 28th, 2012 by News from the Little River

Caitlin Hoy joins Little River Watershed Association as an AmeriCorps volunteer

The Little River Watershed Association is pleased to announce that Caitlin Hoy has joined the organization as an AmeriCorps Volunteer. “It’s a great privilege to have Caitlin join us in our work to protect the Little River,” said Kim Raia, board chair. “We believe that her energy and enthusiasm will enhance our efforts to reach out to the community.”

Caitlin is originally from Audubon, Pennsylvania, a suburb west of Philadelphia. Sheattended Gettysburg College and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in environmental studies and biology with a concentration in marine and freshwater ecology, and a minor in music. She then moved to Columbia, South Carolina to continue her education in marine science. After a year of graduate work, she decided to join AmeriCorps, which requires dedicating a year of service to helping community needs.

For as long as she can remember, Caitlin has been interested in human impacts on the environment and what she could do to make a difference. During college, these interests escalated when she researched the effects of pharmaceuticals in the environment for her senior thesis. After sharing her results with the scientific community, she realized how important it was to bring this environmental awareness to the public through education. She is excited about joining the Little River Watershed Association in their efforts to educate the community through outreach, volunteer involvement and watershed assessment. “I hope to help the community understand the connection between watershed health and their individual behaviors,” she said.

Caitlin also enjoys playing the violin, going to the beach, fishing, and playing with her dog, Mako.

The Little River Watershed Association is a 501C non-profit organization with the mission to protect, preserve, and enhance the Little River and its tributaries through mobilizing public support, building public awareness and promoting best management practices. The key aims of the Association are to promote educational activities that benefit the river and the watershed; to focus attention on efforts to protect the river; to distribute current information to the community; and to assist citizens in taking positive action.



Green Building Resources

May 15th, 2012 by News from the Little River

The Southeast Watershed Forum and University of Georgia recently released a report on Green Building Programs in the Southeast. Many of the programs focus on site design and watershed-friendly development practices, along with water and energy efficient building and community practices. The report is available as a free pdf at


There will also be a regional webinar on Community Green Building Practices in the Southeast on May 17 from 1-2 p.m. The webinar will feature community leaders from Mecklenburg County, NC; Tallahassee, FL, and Chattanooga, TN discussing their efforts to build more sustainable communities. Visit this link to register.


PlanET Regional Meeting, April 23rd in Alcoa.

Apr 23rd, 2012 by News from the Little River

Plan East Tennessee (PlanET) is a regional partnership formed to ask East Tennesseans to help craft the region’s future. A second regional meeting will be held tonight at the Alcoa Service Center.  See the Plan East TN website for more information about the five county project to develop a blueprint for East Tennessee.

Monday April, 23, 2012 6:00 PM
Alcoa Service Center (


Little River Watershed Association and Blount County Stormwater Department to Host Residential Stormwater Workshop

Feb 2nd, 2012 by News from the Little River

The Little River Watershed Association’s new education series entitled Watershed 101 will host the second event for the community entitled Stream Makeover: Practices to Safeguard Little River. Speaker Andrea Ludwig, PhD, Assistant Professor from the Biosystems Engineering & Soil Science, will discuss ways residents can reduce their stormwater footprint around homes and gardens. The workshop will take place on Tuesday, February 21, 7-8pm in the Blount County Public Library, Dorothy Herron Room A. The event is free, and the public is encouraged to attend.

Citizens will learn about easy best management practices (or BMPs) around their homes and gardens to help reduce their stormwater footprint. These include using permeable alternatives for walkways and driveways, disconnecting gutter downspout from the storm drain, and protecting the water’s edge with vegetated buffers. Similarly, researchers at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture are using BMPs to protect the Little River from potential impacts due to agricultural production. They are conducting research on and demonstrating the effective use of constructed wetlands and buffers within the landscape to safeguard our water resources. Learn about the environmental research program at the new dairy research and education facility on Ellejoy Road.

About the Little River Watershed 101 Series:

In addition to providing some of the cleanest drinking water in the state, the Little River is one of the most ecologically diverse rivers in the state. There are many ways citizens can help protect aquatic resources and water quality from potential impacts due to urban development and

agricultural land use in watersheds. The Little River Watershed 101 series is focused on the Little River, a unique and threatened resource right here in Blount County. The purpose of the series is to educate the public about what makes up a watershed and why the Little River Watershed is especially valuable to the residents of this area. Quarterly events will address why the Little River needs protecting as well as provide practical steps that everyone can take to help.

The first event in the series was entitled Darters, Damselflies, and Rock Dams. Speakers from The University of Tennessee Fisheries department introduced the aquatic life found in the Little River and explained why the Little River is used as a “reference” watershed, and addressed how the construction of rock dams can cause harm to aquatic life.

About the Little River Watershed Association:

The Little River Watershed Association exists to protect and enhance the Little River and its tributaries through mobilizing public support, building public awareness and recommending best management practices. To accomplish this mission, LRWA performs three roles: advocacy, education and coordination of resources. The LRWA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. For more information, please visit LittleRiverWatershed.org and Little River Watershed Association on Facebook

About the Blount County Stormwater Department:

The Blount County Stormwater Department is responsible for administration of water quality programs in the unincorporated, urbanized areas of Blount County. The Department is responsible for controlling discharges of pollutants to the public stormwater system. For more information, please visit BlountTn.org/stormwater.asp or call 681-9301.



Little River Watershed 101 Series Continues

Dec 19th, 2011 by News from the Little River

The Little River Watershed Association held the inaugural lecture in its “Little River Watershed 101” Education Series at the Blount County Library on November 16, 2011. Joyce Coombs and Adam Jaeckel from the University of Tennessee Wildlife and Fisheries department jointly presented “Darters, Damselflies, and Rock Dams.” This was the first in a quarterly speaker and outdoor education series focusing on the Little River, a unique resource here in Blount County.

We will host another lecture on February 21st, 2012 at the Maryville Public Library.

Below is a summary of the November presentation, and stay tuned for details on the February event.

“Darters, Damselflies, and Rock Dams”
Darters and Damselflies – Joyce Coombs, Research Associate, University of Tennessee Wildlife and Fisheries Department

Joyce Coombs discussed the aquatic life found in the Little River, as identified, measured, and categorized by the University of Tennessee Fisheries department experts. She explained why the Little River is a reference stream used to compare to other streams of similar origin, size and geology. “It is one of the healthiest streams in East Tennessee, however we are starting to see declines in habitat and species diversity.”

Joyce described how the water quality of the Little River is measured using biological and physical data. The Index of Biotic Integrity (IBI) is used as a “score” to assess the health of the river. A score of 60 indicates the healthiest stream ecosystem. In 2010 the Little River near Coulter’s Bridge had a score of 60! In 2011 the score was essentially unchanged at 56. (Ed.: This reflects a healthy ecosytem at that location along the river but does not necessarily reflect the water quality further down stream. It does not mean that the water at Coulter’s Bridge meets EPA Drinking Water standards). She explained how the EPT taxa score is based on the observed population of the pollutant sensitive macroinvertebrate larvae of mayflies, stoneflies and caddisflies. She showed how physical habitat plays a critical role in a healthy river ecosystem. Elevated sediment loads can adversely affect habitat for the many native species in the Little River. Even the location and size of rocks on the stream bottom are important. The audience was impressed by the number of different fish species present in the river. One attendee was quoted “I am impressed at the beauty of the Tangerine Darter and the Blueside Darter. Who would have thought that right in our own backyard we have such colorful fish rivaling those found on salt water coral reefs? I can’t wait to go snorkeling in the Little River during the next fish spawning season.”


Tangerine Darter (found in the Little River)

Joyce showed photographs of other aquatic life found in the river including snapping turtles, salamanders (Hellbender), mussels, and crayfish. The UT Fisheries Department conducts education outreach including: the Teachers Excellence Workshop, Casting for Recovery, and UT Fisheries Techniques Classes.

 Rock Dams – Adam Jaeckel, University of Tennessee, Student – UT Fisheries Major

Adam Jaeckel addressed the recreational activities on the Little River, namely the construction of rock dams by users of the Little River, and how these dams can cause harm to aquatic life. Adam discussed the objectives of the Little River Restoration Project which include returning the river to a more natural state by replacing natural rock formations, eliminating channels resulting from the rock dams, and restoring aquatic habitat. The project also seeks to reduce erosion. Erosion leads to siltation and declines in species diversity in the vicinity of the rock dams. Adam worked with volunteers from the Student Chapter of Wildlife and Fisheries Society in September 2011 to remove rock dams in the Little River restoring riffle habitat for the Tangerine Darter and a host of other native species. Adam discussed how community education such as this was another objective of the restoration project.

The purpose of the Little River Watershed 101 series is to educate the public about watershed dynamics and why the Little River Watershed is especially valuable to the residents of this area.

In addition to providing some of the cleanest drinking water in the state, the Little River is one of the most ecologically diverse rivers in the Southeast.

Links to the full presentations are here:
Darters and Damselflies
Rock Dams


Little River Watershed Association Hosts Fall River Cleanup And Kicks Off Community Watershed Education Series

Nov 6th, 2011 by News from the Little River

The Little River Watershed Association is excited to announce two upcoming events that will kick off a quarterly speaker and outdoor education series called “LITTLE RIVER WATERSHED 101”  focusing on the Little River, a unique and threatened resource right here in Blount County.

The purpose of the series is to educate the public about watershed dynamics and why the Little River Watershed is especially valuable to the residents of this area. Topics will also address why the Little River needs protecting as well as provide practical steps that everyone can take to help.

**The first event is the fall Adopt-A-Stream cleanup on Saturday, November 12, 10am-12:30pm. For more details on how to volunteer for this event, see below.
**The first lecture in the Watershed Education 101 series is entitled Darters, Damselflies, and Rock Dams and will take place on Wednesday, November 16, 7-8pm in the Blount County Public Library, Dorothy Herron Room A. The event is free, and the public is encouraged to attend.

In addition to providing some of the cleanest drinking water in the state, the Little River is one of the most ecologically diverse rivers in the area.  Joyce Coombs, Research Associate and Adam William Jaeckel, Graduate Student in the University of Tennessee Fisheries department will introduce the aquatic life found in the Little River, as identified, measured, and categorized by the University of Tennessee Fisheries experts. They will explain why the Little River is used as a “benchmark” river, one that is so diverse, it is used to measure water quality standards in other areas of our region. The speakers from UT will also address the recreational activities on the Little River, namely the construction of rock dams, and how these dams can cause harm to aquatic life.

To Volunteer for Adopt-A-Stream November 12, 10am-12:30pm

As part of LRWA’s ongoing commitment to preserving and protecting the Little River, the organization hosts four river cleanups per year.With the help from volunteers, the cleanups have removed thousands of pounds of garbage from the banks of the Little River!

Meeting place: 5396 Old Walland Hwy (the old location for Eats by the Creek restaurant)

Directions: From Hwy 321 turn left onto Old Walland Hwy between the volunteer fire station and the Walland Center/ BP/ Post Office. Cross over the Walland Bridge, and the meeting location is immediately on the right.

What to bring: For volunteers who are not canoeing, it is recommended to wear long pants, closed-toed shoes or boots. Gloves will be provided, but if you have a favorite pair of work gloves, bring them along. Children under 18 will need to be accompanied by an adult.

Early Sign-Up: Call the office at 980-2130 or e-mail snaildarter@littleriverwatershed.org  Early sign-up helps us to provide enough materials for all volunteers. Registration and sign-up on the 12th will be handled at the Walland location listed above.

Volunteers for the LRWA will collect garbage along the banks of the Little River in Walland as part of the organization’s Adopt-A-Stream participation. Volunteers may stick to the banks to collect trash or they may canoe and kayak to help collect trash in the river. LRWA will not be providing boats or shuttling service, but boaters can check in and pick up trash bags and instructions, and mark trash drop-off locations.

Please check your e-mail or visit our website before the cleanup for any last-minute modifications due to weather. We will cancel the event if there is inclement weather or high water. We hope you can join us!



November 16th, “Little River Watershed 101” Series Begins

Nov 5th, 2011 by News from the Little River

LRWA is kicking off an educational program, Little River Watershed 101, to increase awareness and appreciation for the Little River. In addition to providing some of the cleanest drinking water in the state, the Little River is one of the most ecologically diverse rivers in the area.

The first lecture in the Little River Watershed 101 series, entitled Darters, Damselflies, and Rock Dams, will take place WednesdayNovember 16, 7-8pm in the Blount County Public Library, Dorothy Herron Room A. The event is free, and the public is encouraged to attend.

Joyce Coombs, Research Associate and Adam William Jaeckel, Graduate Student in the University of Tennessee Fisheries department will discuss aquatic life found in the Little River, as identified, measured, and categorized by the University of Tennessee Fisheries experts. They will explain why the Little River is used as a “benchmark” river, one that is so diverse, it is used to measure water quality standards in other areas of our region. The speakers from UT will also address the recreational activities on the Little River, namely the construction of rock dams, and how these dams can cause harm to aquatic life.

Please join us on November 16th!


Help Us Improve!

Aug 20th, 2011 by News from the Little River

LRWA needs your help in determing how our organization can best work to preserve and protect the resources of the Little River watershed. We are asking our friends and supporters to help us fine tune our mission and enhance our community programs. We greatly appreciate your feedback! Please take 5 minutes to complete this short online survey. Results will be tallied on September 3rd.  Visit this link to begin.


How to Build a Rain Garden!

Jul 25th, 2011 by News from the Little River

Our friends over in the Athens Public Works Office produced this video, hosted by Bill Landry. The video encourages residential property owners to consider adding a rain garden to their home landscaping. The video covers the environmental benefits of rain garden landscaping, the process of installing it and covers the use of rain barrels.



Catastrophic Failure of Sewage System in Gatlinburg

Apr 5th, 2011 by News from the Little River

Early this morning there was a catastrophic failure of a waste water treatment facility in Gatlinburg located behind the Visitor’s Center. Read more here at WBIR. Two people working at the waste water facility are missing.

It is reported that between 1.5 million gallons of raw sewage was spilled directly into the Little Pigeon River.

Sewage flowed through a section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park called the “Spur” which links Gatlinburg to Pigeon Forge.  The Little Pigeon River flows north through Sevierville and drains into the French Broad River.  This sewage will soon find its way into Knoxville and the Fort Loudoun Lake.

Bio-hazard Warning: Do Not have contact with this water until deemed safe

The Mountain Press also has an update concerning this tragedy.  Read the Mountain Press article here. Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation are on scene and monitoring the conditions.

This sewage spill is not located within the Little River watershed and does not effect the water quality of the Little River or its tributaries. None the less, this is a concern for all citizens within our community and we send our deepest regards to the families of the missing workers.


Community Day at Little River Trading Company

Mar 29th, 2011 by News from the Little River

Are you in need of new gear? Are you planning on hiking the Appalachian Trail this summer and need a new tent? Are your boots worn out? Is that backpack too small for your planned camping trip to the Smokies? Has that old climbing rope taken one too many falls?

Then come out this Saturday to the Little River Trading Company and purchase those essential items. Tell the cashier that you want 10% of your purchase to be donated to the Little River Watershed Association.

This Saturday, April 2nd, is the first annual Community Day!

9:00am until 12:00pm

LRTC Community Day

Follow the link below for a Google map to the store.

Little River Trading Company

2408 East Lamar Alexander Parkway, Maryville TN 37804


Officers from the US Air Base volunteer with LRWA

Mar 25th, 2011 by News from the Little River

LRWA would like to extend our thanks and appreciation to the officers from the US Air Base for a successful clean up in the Spring Brook Park area this last weekend.

We had 14 officers spend several hours on Saturday morning scrambling through thick brush, old fields and forested woodlands along Pistol Creek to remove hundreds of pounds of trash and debris. Mark Whited, Executive Director, said “they are some of the best volunteers we have had. We filled up over 40 large trash bags and removed 10 tires, 2 sinks, parts of 3 toilets, bicycle frame, car parts, a metal chair, 3 plastic buckets, water cooler, several garden hoses, tarps, linoleum flooring, styrofoam, a record player, TV and several hundred pounds of scrap metal.”  A final weight of all the trash and debris has not been calculated, but it was estimated  that about a 1000 lbs of debris was removed in a 1/2 mile section along Pistol Creek.  It appeared as though we may have found an old dump site, but most of the trash and debris floated in during periodic flooding events over the years. There were many piles of plastic bottles, glass bottles, cans that settled out in low spots amongst the trees as the water receded.

Officers from the US Air Base in Alcoa standing beside one of the many piles of trash and debris removed from along Pistol Creek.


Nation’s First Drug Take Back Day Will Protect our Rivers and Streams

Sep 14th, 2010 by News from the Little River

On September 25, 2010, the USDEA will coordinate a collaborative effort with state and local law enforcement agencies to remove potentially dangerous controlled substances from our nation’s medicine cabinets. Collection activities will take place from 10:00 a.m. through 2:00 p.m. at sites established throughout the country.

The National Take-Back Day provides an opportunity for the public to surrender expired, unwanted, or unused pharmaceutical controlled substances and other medications for destruction. These drugs are a potential source of supply for illegal use and an unacceptable risk to public health and safety.
This one-day effort is intended to bring national focus to the issue of increasing pharmaceutical controlled substance abuse.

• The program is anonymous.
• Prescription and over the counter solid dosage medications, i.e. tablets and capsules accepted.
• Intra-venous solutions, injectables, and needles will not be accepted.
• Illicit substances such as marijuana or methamphetamine are not a part of this initiative.
For watershed residents, The Blount County Justice  Center. 940 E Lamar Alexander Pkwy Maryville  Tn (map) will be your closest drop off point.

Find other collection site(s) near you
Please check back often as new collection sites will be added daily.

Recent studies are generating a growing concern over pharmaceuticals and other personal care products entering surface and ground water. Pharmaceuticals include chemicals such as over the counter medicines, cosmetics and other personal care products, as well as antibiotics and growth hormones used with livestock.
For more information on how this pollution source maybe impacting our drinking water, see this link.


Great Smoky Mountain National Park Seeking Trail Volunteers

Jul 18th, 2010 by News from the Little River

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is recruiting volunteers to participate in the Adopt-a-Trail (AAT) program, an effort that helps to maintain the Park’s 800-mile trail system. The Volunteers in Parks (VIP) program has integrated volunteerism into many of its Park operations, including trail maintenance, which covers everything from picking up litter to removing treefalls and reporting trail problems to the Park. A mandatory training program is scheduled on Saturday, July 31, in the North Carolina area of the Park for those who are interested in participating in the program.

In order to attend, participants must register by July 26 by email with Christine Hoyer, Trails and Facilities Volunteer Coordinator, or by phoning (828) 497-1949.

Complete details found here:



Almost 20,000 Acres Proposed in the Tennessee Wilderness Act of 2010

Jun 10th, 2010 by News from the Little River


June 9, 2010

Jim Jeffries (Alexander) 202-224-8816

Laura Herzog (Corker) 202-224-3467

Alexander, Corker Introduce Bill to Designate Tennessee Wilderness
Legislation Would Preserve Six Areas Totaling 19,556 Acres in Cherokee National Forest

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) today introduced the Tennessee Wilderness Act of 2010 that would designate six different areas totaling 19,556 acres as wilderness in the Cherokee National Forest. These areas were recommended for wilderness status by the U.S. Forest Service in the development of its comprehensive 2004 forest plan and have been managed as Wilderness Study Areas since that time (a map of the proposed wilderness areas within the Cherokee National Forest can be found here).
“I grew up hiking in the mountains of East Tennessee and know firsthand that these beautiful landscapes should be preserved for generations to come,” Alexander said. “The bill we are introducing today is an important step in conserving some of the most pristine areas in Tennessee and will strengthen the legacy of Tennessee’s natural heritage.”
“We are blessed in East Tennessee with God-given amenities and an unparalleled natural environment, and the Cherokee National Forest is a prime example,” Corker said. “I thank Senator Alexander for his lifelong commitment to protecting scenic wilderness areas and am proud to join him in this effort to preserve Cherokee National Forest for future generations of Tennesseans and Americans to enjoy.”
Congress began protecting wilderness areas in the Cherokee National Forest in 1975, with additional wilderness areas being established by the Tennessee Wilderness Acts of 1984 and 1986.
The Tennessee Wilderness Act of 2010 specifically creates one new wilderness area and expands the boundaries of five separate existing wilderness areas already within the Cherokee National Forest. Since these areas are owned entirely by the U.S. Forest Service and are being managed as Wilderness Study Areas currently, this bill will have no effect on privately owned lands and will cause no change in access for the public.

The Tennessee Wilderness Act of 2010:

•   Creates the 9,038 acre Upper Bald River Wilderness (Monroe County)
•   Adds 348 acres to the Big Frog Wilderness (Polk County)
•   Adds 966 acres to the Little Frog Wilderness (Polk County)
•   Adds 2,922 acres to the Sampson Mountain Wilderness (Washington and Unicoi County)
•   Adds 4,446 acres to the Big Laurel Branch Wilderness (Carter and Johnson County)
•   Adds 1,836 acres to the Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness (Monroe County)

Click Here for a Map of proposed areas for the Tennessee Wilderness Act of 2010


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


Join Us at Troutfest this Weekend in Support of Native Brook Trout Restoration in the Little River

May 12th, 2010 by News from the Little River

Troutfest is a Fly Fishing Exposition and Fundraiser held in Townsend, Tennessee in the Great Smoky Mountains. Proceeds from this event are donated to Great Smoky Mountains National Park Fisheries Department, Friends of the Smokies Fisheries Scholarship Endowment or other youth educational conservation projects. The Little River Chapter of Trout Unlimited sponsors this event as a major fundraiser and annual festival. This year they expect the event will be one of the largest venues for fly anglers in the Southeast United States.  Below is a schedule of events & more information is available at Troutfest. We hope to see you there!


National Drinking Water Week Begins May 2nd.

May 2nd, 2010 by News from the Little River

Today marks the beginning of National Drinking Water Week.  Take a moment to learn a little more about the status of our drinking water and how communities across the country are contending with safe drinking water issues.

— City of Maryville Water Quality Report–
The status of Little River’s drinking water is published yearly at this link.

-– TDEC Website–
The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation is encouraging all Tennesseans to observe National Drinking Water Week, May 2-8. Tennesseans can do their part in promoting good stewardship of the state’s water supply by helping protect our source waters from pollution, practicing water conservation, actively supporting the upkeep of drinking water infrastructure and becoming involved in local water issues.  In addition to celebrating National Drinking Water Week, this year marks the 36th anniversary of the Safe Drinking Water Act – which forms the core of our national efforts to provide quality drinking water and protect the health of our citizens.  A noteworthy 98 percent of Tennessee citizens receiving public drinking water are served by public systems that meet all federal requirements for safe drinking water – one of the highest rankings in the United States.  See the complete press report here.

— CDC  Website–
Each year, the American Water Works Association and an alliance of organizations, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), sponsor National Drinking Water Week to highlight the importance of tap water and the need to reinvest in our nation’s drinking water infrastructure.  Although the United States has one of the safest drinking water supplies in the world, new challenges, such as aging drinking water infrastructure, climate change impacts on water resource availability, chemical contamination of water sources, and the emergence of new ways to obtain and use water (e.g. water reuse, grey water, desalination), require us to remain vigilant to protect all aspects of our water supply.  See Complete resource here.

— EPA Resource Guides, Safe Drinking Water–
Information for kids, researchers, policy makers, homeowners, and well owners.


Call for Volunteers

Apr 8th, 2010 by News from the Little River

LRWA is Developing a

Volunteer Committee

Our immediate need for volunteers is to help with Earth Round-Up

during the Morning Clean Up and Evening Festivities.

For anyone interested in volunteering with our organization, we have a meeting scheduled for Thursday April 15th, 6:00pm at our office. The meeting will last about 30 minutes. Please RSVP if you’re interested in being a volunteer. If you can not attend this volunteer planning meeting, please let us know and we can accommodate you.

Volunteer positions available during

Earth Round-Up:

Morning Clean Up

– Check-In Tables

– Pick-Up trucks or trailer to collect trash

– Volunteer Coordinators

Evening Festivities on Maryville College Campus

– Set Up and Break Down
– Silent Auction
– LRWA’s Education Booth

Who: Everyone Welcome

What: Volunteer Planning Meeting

When: Thursday April, 15th 6:00-6:30pm

Where: LRWA’s Office

1006 East Lamar Alexander Parkway

Maryville, TN 37804

Our office is located in the County’s Environmental Health Building across the street from Blount Memorial Hospital.  Turn off of Lamar Alexander Parkway onto the road between the Thompson Brown Historical Log Cabin and Mountain National Bank.  Park behind the Log Cabin at the Blount County Historical Museum.  Our office is located just inside the Blount County Historical Museum.


Regional Waste Water Treatment Plan Clarified

Jun 28th, 2009 by News from the Little River

In a work session held on Thursday,  plant and city officials gave further detail on the planned upgrade to the Regional Waste Water Treatment Facility.  Currently, treated waste water is piped downstream of the facility to a discharge point on the Tennessee River.  According to Site Operators, the improved treatment technology would meet state regulatory standards for discharge directly into the Little River Embayment near the facility. However, officials have clarified the primary discharge point will remain downstream of the Rockford community.

See the full Maryville Daily Times article at this link:
Daily Times: Treatment Plant Update


Save the Date – July 9th – Tomato Head Fundraiser

Jun 19th, 2009 by News from the Little River


Join us July 9th at Maryville’s Tomato Head for LRWA’s Specialty Sandwich Day!
From 11am to 9:30pm, or until supplies last, 100% of Specialty Sandwich proceeds will go to the Little River Watershed Association.

Come one, come all – tell your friends – tell your neighbors – tell your coworkers–
Bring families and friends and enjoy some of Blount County’s finest foods while supporting our watershed!  Many thanks to Tomato Head, Scott Partin, & Tommy Bateman for their widespread community support, their dedication to sustainable business practices, and their continued support of LRWA.

Tomato Head Invitation


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.



Daily Times Article Features Volunteer Divers Working to Clean up Little River Trash

Apr 22nd, 2009 by News from the Little River

–In the News–

The Daily Times has an article today talking about the underwater cleanup and upcoming Earth Round UP events scheduled for Saturday.  On Tuesday, a team of divers from the Blount County Sheriff’s Office and our own board member Edward Harper took part in the yearly underwater cleanup.  The divers were getting a jump on Saturday’s Earth Round-UP event, which includes both river and community-wide cleanups.

Article and photos here:

Daily Times Article


PBS Series ‘Frontline’ Examines Health Hazards in Nation’s Contaminated Waterways

Apr 19th, 2009 by News from the Little River

–Press Release–

Tuesday, April 21, 2009, from 9 to 11 P.M. ET on PBS

More than three decades after the Clean Water Act, iconic American waterways like the Chesapeake Bay and Puget Sound are in perilous condition and facing new sources of contamination.  With polluted runoff still flowing in from industry, agriculture and massive suburban development, scientists note that many new pollutants and toxins from modern everyday life are already being found in the drinking water of millions of people across the country and pose a threat to fish, wildlife and, potentially, human health.

In FRONTLINE’s Poisoned Waters, airing Tuesday, April 21, 2009, from 9 to 11 P.M. ET on PBS (check local listings), Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Hedrick Smith examines the growing hazards to human health and the ecosystem.

“The ’70s were a lot about, ‘We’re the good guys; we’re the environmentalists; we’re going to go after the polluters,’ and it’s not really about that anymore,” Jay Manning, director of ecology for Washington state, tells FRONTLINE. “It’s about the way we all live. And unfortunately, we are all polluters. I am; you are; all of us are.”

Through interviews with scientists, environmental activists, corporate executives and average citizens impacted by the burgeoning pollution problem, Smith reveals startling new evidence that today’s growing environmental threat comes not from the giant industrial polluters of old, but from chemicals in consumers’ face creams, deodorants, prescription medicines and household cleaners that find their way into sewers, storm drains, and eventually into America’s waterways and drinking water.

“The environment has slipped off our radar screen because it’s not a hot crisis like the financial meltdown, war or terrorism,” Smith says. “But pollution is a ticking time bomb. It’s a chronic cancer that is slowly eating away the natural resources that are vital to our very lives.”

Reversing decades of pollution and preventing the irreversible annihilation of the nation’s waterways, however, will require a seismic shift in the way Americans live their lives and use natural resources, experts say.

“You have to change the way you live in the ecosystem and the place that you share with other living things,” says William Ruckelshaus, founding director of the Environmental Protection Agency. “You’ve got to learn to live in such a way that it doesn’t destroy other living things. It’s got to become part of our culture.”

Video Preview here: