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TVA Watershed Teams Honored for Environmental Achievements

Two TVA Environment & Technology watershed teams recently received recognition for their environmental efforts.

The Chickamauga-Hiwassee Watershed Team shared a Tennessee Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Award for Aquatic Resource Preservation for work on a storm-water project in McMinn County, Tenn. Partners in the project included the city of Athens and the Athens-McMinn Family YMCA.

The Watts Bar-Clinch Watershed Team was a partner in a rain-barrel project that received a Tennessee Governor’s Award for Excellence in Environmental Education and Outreach.

TVA representatives received the awards June 24 in Nashville.

Minimizing storm-water runoff with a ‘green’ parking lot

The Chickamauga-Hiwassee Watershed Team and project partners created a “green” parking lot in Athens, Tenn.

Through cooperative and creative pooling of resources, along with funding from a $30,000 Green Development grant, project participants scrapped earlier plans for a traditional parking lot on vacant land between Athens City Hall and the Athens-McMinn Family YMCA. In its place, project partners designed and built a totally green parking facility. The facility demonstrates how the use of low-impact development techniques can minimize storm-water runoff while still providing needed parking space.

“We used pervious concrete and pavers, along with environmentally friendly grassed geo-grid materials, for the driving surfaces,” says Linda Harris, a TVA senior watershed representative. “We also created rain gardens, using native trees, shrubs and flowering plants. These gardens allow rainwater to percolate through six inches of stone to the underlying soil, and clay berms help keep water in the garden’s sub-base longer.”

In addition, a local Eagle Scout candidate led the building of an educational kiosk with the first “green” roof in McMinn County.

Harris says interest generated by the project led several churches, local businesses and property owners to initiate projects using similar materials and techniques to address their own storm-water management issues.

TVA’s Chickamauga-Hiwassee Watershed Team supported the project with technical assistance, kiosk and green-roof materials, and plants. The city of Athens led the planning and supplied the labor and equipment, and the YMCA provided funds already committed for the traditional parking-lot project.

Promoting water conservation through the ‘Rainy Day Brush-Off’

The Watts Bar-Clinch Watershed Team has participated for the past few years in a Knox County rain-barrel project that promotes water conservation.

Created in 2008 by the Water Quality Forum of Knoxville, the Rainy Day Brush-Off artistic rain-barrel competition features actual works of art on 55-gallon rain barrels. The purpose is to help raise awareness about water conservation and water pollution.

“By engaging the regional visual arts community, the Rainy Day Brush-Off produces a unique collection of barrels while providing the community with an aesthetically compelling and easily accessible water-conservation tool,” says Melinda Watson, a TVA senior watershed representative.

Information about the Rainy Day Brush-Off is available at


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