Environment and Conservation and TDOT Unveil Program Designed to Protect Water Resources

Monday, April 23, 2007 | 07:00pm

Nashville, Tenn. – The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation are partnering on a project to place watershed signs along roadways across the state. The purpose of the signs is to increase public awareness regarding the importance of watersheds, and to encourage good stewardship of the state’s valuable rivers, streams, wetlands, lakes, and ground water.

“This educational effort is intended to help the people of Tennessee become more aware and interested in watersheds,” said TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely. “We also hope to inspire our residents to keep these areas beautiful and free of pollution.”

“Protecting our natural environment is a bigger job than any government agency or private organization can do alone,” added Environment and Conservation Commissioner Jim Fyke. “It requires the participation of all citizens, and I hope creating greater awareness of our watershed boundaries will lead Tennesseans to be more active in their protection of our water resources.”

A watershed is the entire land area that drains into a lake, river, or other water body. Watersheds can be small, like the area that drains into a neighborhood creek, or large areas that drain into a major river.

“Local ownership of watersheds by citizens is essential to our efforts to protect waters of the state, which are held in trust for the people of Tennessee,” said Environment and Conservation’s Deputy Commissioner Paul Sloan. “We are extremely pleased to partner with TDOT on this project.”

“This program provides an opportunity to showcase some of the state’s most valuable resources,” said TDOT Chief of Environment and Planning Ed Cole. “We can also educate motorists about the value we place on watersheds and watershed protection.”

“It’s been our experience that when you attach a name to something, it becomes more recognizable and more important, and it allows people to better attach a value to it,” said Margo Farnsworth, Senior Fellow for the Cumberland River Compact. “It’s wonderful to see these two agencies partnering on something like this to help raise awareness that everyone in Tennessee lives in a watershed and has an interest in protecting it.”

The watershed signing program will place 187 signs along Tennessee interstates and state routes. The signs will be located at entry points to the 55 watersheds throughout the state. Each watershed may have between 2 and 10 signs based on the geographic location and how many major highways enter the watershed.

TDOT’s current plan is to have the majority of the watershed signs installed by the end of 2007.

For more information contact:

Dana Coleman
TDEC Communications Director
Office (615) 253-1916

B.J. Doughty
TDOT Community Relations Officer - Region 3
Office (615) 350-4302

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