Little River Watershed 101
In 2012 LRWA formally kicked 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. There are many ways citizens can help protect aquatic resources and water quality.
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.
2014–STREAM SCHOOL FOR KIDS
On June 7th, Little River Watershed Association will hold a Stream School for Kids to provide an array of water monitoring activities for our littlest friends of the river. This program is based on STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) concepts and incorporated environmental, chemical and aquatic sciences and stream flow mathematics. The students will learn how to measure river flow, identify fish samples for a fish survey, observe macroinvertebrates, and run chemical tests on water samples.
The students will also help survey fish with LRWA board member and TVA biologist Jon Mollish and have chance to observe a good sampling of the 50+ species of fish found in the Little River. More information is found here:
2014–DAM GOOD, DAM BAD? A DISCUSSION ON THE LITTLE RIVER DAMS
The Little River Watershed Association will host its first Little River Watershed 101 event of the year on Tuesday, Feb 18 at Barley’s Restaurant in Maryville from 6:00-8:00PM. The group is providing the community with an informal chance to listen to a panel discussion about the dams on Little River and their implications. See link here:
2013–STREAM MONITORING TRAINING, OCTOBER 17TH
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. More information here:
2013–STREAM SCHOOL FOR KIDS, August 24
Stream School for Kids provides an array of water monitoring activities for our littlest friends of the river. This program is based on STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) concepts and incorporated environmental, chemical and aquatic sciences and stream flow mathematics. Registration required. See link here:
2013–VIP FLOATILLA , June 22nd
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! More information here:
2013–LITTLE RIVER WATERSHED 101, “ASK AN EXPERT!”
The Little River Watershed Association will host its first Little River Watershed 101 event of the year on Thursday, April 25 at the Blount County Library from 6:30-8:30. The group is providing the community with an informal chance to speak with technical experts from a range of state and local government agents and other non-profits with overlapping goals.
“The idea is to get these organizations in one room to answer questions and discuss what they are doing in the areas of conservation, water quality and stream ecology and regional conservation,” said Kim Raia, LRWA board chair.
The groups that will attend include Blount County, Alcoa and Maryville Stormwater Programs, Conservation Fisheries, the National Park Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Tennessee Department of Environmental Conservation, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, the University of Tennessee Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries, Plan East Tennessee, and the Knoxville Water Quality Forum. The event is free and open to the public.
2012-OUTDOOR LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES
LRWA joined TWRA, TDEC, TVA, UT to conduct the 25th annual IBI survey, to quantitatively assess changes in the composition of the river’s biologic communities. Over 30 volunteers joined us to learn more about the biodiversity of the Little River.
July 10, 9:30am in Walland at Coulter’s Bridge.
July 13, 9:30am in Townsend — meet at the lot just upstream of the handicap parking area next to the river.
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.
2012-February 21st STREAM MAKEOVER
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.
November 16th Presentations:
The first lecture in the Little River Watershed 101 series, entitled Darters, Damselflies, and Rock Dams, will take place 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.
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 reference stream, one that 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.