About Harpeth Conservancy

Science-based conservation for rivers of Tennessee

Since 1999, the Harpeth Conservancy’s mission is to restore and protect clean water and healthy ecosystems for rivers in Tennessee.

The Harpeth Conservancy, formerly known as the Harpeth River Watershed Association (HRWA), in middle Tennessee, is a science-based conservation organization dedicated to clean water and healthy ecosystems for rivers in Tennessee. We employ scientific expertise and collaborative relationships to develop, promote, and support broad community stewardship and action.


El Cox and Rick Lockwood, who were among the founders of the organization, shared HRWA’s history with the group. They noted that the first effort, led by Judy Butler, folded. Then, a second effort began with the Franklin sewage treatment plant spill. Next, the Cumberland River Compact got a grant to help form the group and held a series of public meetings and focus groups. Don Elder of River Network, TCWN and CRC met in November 1998, and the initial Board was formed in 1999. Dr. Wilson’s 2-year sediment study was then designed by CRC and launched in the Harpeth with the HRWA in September 2000. In July 2001, the organization hired its first Executive Director, Dorie Bolze.

For more than 18 years, the Harpeth Conservancy has worked to monitor, restore, and protect the State Scenic Harpeth River and its tributaries. In June 2017, Harpeth River Watershed Association changed its name to the Harpeth Conservancy. This name change is part of the larger rebranding of the organization which involved the Board, Advisory Board, staff, and other key stakeholders. This rebranding included articulation of a new vision, mission statement, and graphic identity.

Supported by a broad network of volunteers, donors, and professional staff, Harpeth Conservancy has expertise in a range of disciplines including water quality science, environmental and conservation law and policy, sustainable land use planning, agricultural best management practices, volunteer and community engagement, and others. Our organization engages in land development decisions, promotes smart growth and agricultural management practices, designs stream restoration plans, assesses sewer and drinking water challenges, conducts river studies, ensures pollution threats are removed, promotes recreation and public education, and serves as a catalyst for effective statewide conservation policies.

Harpeth Conservancy uses its expertise, applied science, and relationships with landowners, businesses, residents, and policy decision-makers to develop solutions inclusive of the people who live and work here. By seeking water quality solutions developed with diverse stakeholders, Harpeth Conservancy builds broad stewardship and shared responsibility for streams and rivers in our communities that are vital for the state’s economic well-being and quality of life. With a community effort, we can restore and maintain a healthy and biologically important river in the heart of one of the fastest growing regions of the U.S.


Harpeth Conservancy is a Tennessee non-profit corporation and a 501(c)(3) organization that strives to represent and help its members champion their interests in clean water and healthy ecosystems for rivers in Tennessee. To do that, we aim to be transparent in what we do and how we do it, including how our organization is governed.

  • For a copy of our corporate charter, click here.
  • For a copy of our current bylaws, click here.

Annual Members Meeting 2024:
Our 2024 Annual Members Meeting will be held on May 30, 2024. At the Annual Meeting, the business to come before the meeting will be the election of directors.  Members eligible to vote will receive further information about the meeting shortly.   


In order to further the work of the Harpeth Conservancy, the Members of the Corporation include the following:

  1. the members of our Board of Directors,
  2. the members of our Advisory Council,
  3. all full-time employees of Harpeth Conservancy,
  4. all those who donate more than Five Hundred Dollars ($500) in cash, property, or services during the most recently completed fiscal year and agree to be members and who support the purposes of Harpeth Conservancy,
  5. all those who have donated more than Twenty-five Dollars ($25) in cash per year for each of the previous three (3) fiscal years and agree to be members and who support the purposes of Harpeth Conservancy; and
  6. those who have volunteered in at least three (3)  service projects sponsored by Harpeth Conservancy in the most recently completed fiscal year and agree to be members and who support the purposes of Harpeth Conservancy.

Categories (4) and (5) include donations by foundations and corporations. Individuals must be at least eighteen (18) years old.

Our Board of Directors is the sole judge of membership and qualifications for membership, of whether to accept the donation of any cash, property, or services and of the value of any property accepted. The Board may deny or terminate the membership of any person as provided in TN Code Ann. § 48-56-302.

Memberships in HC are not transferable.


The Harpeth Conservancy relies on the support of its members, generous individuals, and corporations to provide critical funding that supports scientific and technical staff and gives flexibility to program work. Learn more about how you can support us and get involved.

Corporate and Financial Information such as recent tax filings (990s) can be found on the Giving Matters website, a project of the Community Foundation of Middle TN.

Harpeth Conservancy blue heron logo