We have some GREAT news to share with you! Harpeth Conservancy has merged the Richland Creek Watershed Alliance (RCWA) into its programs. After over 10 years of hard work, Monette Rebecca retired as the Executive Director of RCWA. She will continue as an expert consultant with HC so that her hard work and legacy live on.
Harpeth Conservancy’s mission to restore and protect clean water and healthy ecosystems for rivers in Tennessee and the work on Richland Creek seamlessly fit together.
HC created the Nashville Flood Recovery Project after the historic May 2010 flood. As a collaboration with Hands on Nashville, RCWA and several other non-profits, it served to tackle the hundreds of tons of flood debris that littered Nashville’s very own State Scenic Harpeth and many other waterways in the city. HC, RCWA and other non-profits also partnered to create the Nashville Waterways Consortium. HC’s staff team are recognized experts with decades of experience in watershed science, floodplain and stormwater management, stream restoration and recreational use management.
Here are some of the programs that will specifically happen around Richland Creek and other rivers and streams in the area:
Water Quality Monitoring Network – In Summer 2020, HC began testing in highly popular areas along Richland Creek and other waterways where families and dogs play. E. coli levels several times higher than accepted scientific and safety standards were found. The plan is to create a real-time water quality alert system, so you will know when it is safe to play in your local waterway.
Outreach and Education–Lessons on the River are FREE, monthly, hands on and in person events and Conservation Conversations is a virtual educational opportunity held the 4th Wednesday of every month. Check out the Harpeth Conservancy YouTube channel to see recent Conversations including how to manage your lawn to reduce water pollution as we hit fall. Watch for future events at harpethconservancy.org/events. FREE Lessons on the River will be offered on Richland Creek soon! Watch our calendar!
Be River Responsible/Grab the Litter – Both organizations have had core education efforts to reduce trash in local waterways and to require fewer organized clean-ups. As part of Harpeth Conservancy’s Be River Responsible program, here are a few things that YOU can do to help:
- Pick up any trash you see
- Don’t litter (and use recyclable water bottles…we have a cool one in our online merch store if you don’t have one yet!)
- Lock your load (in trucks and open windows)
- Organize your OWN walking clean-up along the greenway or local waterway. HC is happy to help! Clean-ups are perfect projects for school, scouting or neighborhood groups!
Outreach – Look for HC Staff out at the Richland Park Farmer’s Market and other events getting to know more Richland Creek neighbors, helping people find volunteer opportunities and advising on issues in the area.
Social Media – follow us at @harpethriver and @RichlandCreek on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, so you can keep up with upcoming education and outreach events, volunteer opportunities, wildlife information, and river related issues that need your voice. Also, as you take and post great photos, remember to tag #richlandcreekgreenway and #harpethriver.
Clean Water Protection – Harpeth Conservancy has 20 years of experience in conservation policy and law as well as flood and stormwater management related to development, planning for growth, and rural land protection. On behalf of Richland Creek, HC recently filed significant comments on the draft state permit for the REOStone quarry realignment. Monette also provided her expertise to the Nashville Stormwater Management Committee which recently denied a proposal to build in the Richland Creek floodway.
Restoration – For years, trees have been planted along Richland Creek to address stream bank erosion and invasive species have been removed in sections annually to prevent harmful undergrowth choking out native plants. HC plans to continue this work with local partners, which is one area where your help is needed!
These efforts serve to protect Richland Creek, YOUR local waterway, and to combine efforts with community groups who are tackling challenges in order to make YOUR neighborhoods better.
More than ever there are threats to our rivers and waterways across Nashville, Middle Tennessee, and the state. The work is never-ending, and the pandemic has made it even harder for community voices to participate meaningfully in major local and state decisions that affect people’s livelihoods and property. HC closely monitors these threats from proposed state legislation to complex and controversial proposals seeking local and state approvals. Resources are stretched thin to provide expertise and to ensure environmental equity for all communities regardless of socioeconomic stature. Everyone has the right to clean water and healthy local waterways. All of this is happening while use of rivers and waterways is at an all-time high, as people seek streams and greenways along rivers as an escape and outlet.
We truly hope that you are enjoying Richland Creek and other waterways more than ever, relishing a vital local natural area that connects us all. We hope we can all gather as a community soon, but until then, do not hesitate to connect with the HC staff and board to get to know more people in the Richland Creek community.
We need YOUR involvement. Donate if you are able. Volunteer when you can. Get to know your local officials. Be River Responsible in every way possible.