May 2010 Flood Recovery Project

With all the threats that the flood damage posed, there was no way we weren't going to tackle the problems.

Healing the Harpeth

A historic flood occurred on May 1-3, 2010. This disaster left the Harpeth River and surrounding areas flooded with parts of buildings, barns, sheds and the personal belongings of countless people. Many thousands of trees were also pushed over and uprooted, which created seriously eroded areas along the river.

HC spearheaded the need to address these problems by organizing large groups of partner organizations and volunteers. In addition to the immediate work on the ground, HC began a massive restoration project to rebuild vital zones around the river. Ultimately, HC formed the foundation of the Waterway Flood Recovery Project by coordinating with many partners to restore degraded streams around middle Tennessee.

On its 10th anniversary, we remember the severity of the tragedy, but we’re also reminded of the incredible movement of people that came together to rebuild and restore our land and our homes.

Read a poignant and personal account of the effort that so many people put in to tackle the aftermath of the flood, written by Harpeth Conservancy’s CEO, Dorie Bolze. 

"After the Harpeth River showed its full power and potential that May, the Tennessean thing to do was to go out and help our neighbors."

-Glenn Remick, HC Volunteer

Formed Foundation of Flood Recovery Efforts

HC tackled the public safety and water quality threats that resulted from flood damage by organizing the Waterway Flood Recovery Project in late May 2010. HC surveyed over 200 sites along the entire Harpeth River and its tributaries to determine needs. In 2011, they formed the Nashville Waterways Recovery and Restoration Project with many other local organizations.  Read about the outstanding support and amazing partners of the Waterway Flood Recovery Project.

Removed 153 TONS of Debris

When state and federal sources couldn’t fund any efforts to remove debris that wasn’t on public property or jeopardizing infrastructure, HC immediately organized volunteers and partner organizations to tackle the immense need for cleanup efforts. Over 2,000 volunteers came together at 60+ cleanups to rectify the damage. Almost all of the flood related debris was removed with a volunteer army in the two-year period following the flood. 

Initiated Massive Restoration Project

With more than 10,000 mature trees uprooted and pushed over in the flood, large stretches of land along the river were severely eroded, which endangered the river’s health. In 2012, HC undertook a massive restoration challenge to plant 10,000 trees within the year to restore these areas. HC succeeded its goal by planting 12,656 native seedlings mostly along the Harpeth. These initial restoration efforts had lasting effects as HC still holds yearly tree plantings to increase the river’s health. 


HC Staff Honored for Flood Recovery Work

Harpeth Conservancy’s Restoration Program Coordinator, Mike Cain, was awarded the Water Conservationist award by the TN Wildlife Federation in 2011. The organization calls these their annual Conservation Achievement awards. Mike Cain from Franklin, TN found private funding and organized nineteen clean-ups, removing nearly 80 tons of debris with 400 volunteers putting in more than 2,000 hours of time. 

Dedicated Volunteers

HC honored a group of volunteers as River Stewards for their particularly outstanding contributions to the Waterway Flood Recovery Project efforts.

Read about the 2011 and 2012 River Stewards’ incredible efforts. 

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