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Innovative Wilson County Project Demonstrates Unique Stormwater Management Practices; Dedication Ceremony Held Tuesday

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 | 04:34am

LEBANON, Tenn. — The Tennessee Healthy Watershed Initiative and Wilson County dedicated a second environmental project Tuesday at the James E. Ward Agriculture Center / Fairgrounds, which includes the implementation of a pervious parking area, rain gardens, nature trails, wetlands, and other techniques to capture and clean stormwater on site before it enters Tennessee’s waters. 

The project combines several new approaches to managing stormwater, improving water quality, enhancing wildlife habitat and viewing, and providing educational opportunities for the local community.  The site will be available as an educational facility for Tennessee citizens interested in learning about the benefits of these techniques and how to implement similar efforts in their own communities. 

“Ensuring clean, plentiful water in Tennessee requires collaboration and thoughtful planning among a broad partnership of agencies and interests,” said Dr. Shari Meghreblian, deputy commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. “We look forward to the hundreds of thousands of people that pass through these fairgrounds seeing, experiencing and learning about Wilson County’s great project and hopeful they will take back clean water ideas to their own homes and communities, recognizing the tremendous value innovative stormwater projects like this can have on our state’s natural resources and its citizens.”   

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Tuesday, followed by tours of the site.  Photos and cutlines of the event are available at www.flickr.com/photos/tnenvironment/

“Not only will we construct innovative green infrastructure that will provide water quality treatment for nearly 75 percent of the Wilson County fairground site,” said John Dewaal, county engineer and stormwater director for Wilson County.  “We also will establish an educational center and research site for citizens, local and state government, students, and stormwater professionals, providing a hands-on and permanent demonstration about stormwater best management practices.  I want to personally thank the water groups in Wilson and Sumner counties and the numerous other partners from both government and the private sector for their efforts in making this project a reality.” 

The Wilson County effort is the second of many projects across the state of Tennessee funded through the Tennessee Healthy Watershed Initiative. The initiative recently announced its plans to fund nine new watershed improvement and protection projects across the state, with a focus on new innovation and community-based initiatives.  More than $750,000 in funding will support several strategic investment areas of the Tennessee Healthy Watershed Initiative, and the projects will be implemented across the state beginning January 2013 through June 2014. 

The Tennessee Healthy Watershed Initiative also successfully supported a restoration project for a tributary of Cane Creek near Jackson, Tenn., in Madison County earlier this year, taking it from a channelized stream to a more natural, meandering stream. 

Launched in August 2011, the Tennessee Healthy Watershed Initiative is the result of a partnership among the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Tennessee Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, and the West Tennessee River Basin Authority.  The initiative’s primary goal is to maintain and improve water resources across the state by bringing together the public, landowners, resource management agencies, and conservation-focused organizations to promote communication, collaboration, and thoughtful water resources planning. 

“The Tennessee Healthy Watershed Initiative is really about better, cleaner, healthier water for all Tennesseans,” said Brenda Brickhouse, TVA vice president of environmental permits and compliance. “Improving the condition of local streams improves the quality of our watersheds. Enhancement projects such as the one dedicated today in Wilson County have a lasting impact for both the actual site and the communities downstream.”

The Tennessee Watershed Healthy Initiative has completed a three-year operational plan, which includes providing flexible funding for innovative projects across the state; planning for secure funding for the Initiative into the future; and promoting communication, collaboration, and thoughtful water resources planning among a broad partnership of agencies and stakeholders.

To learn more about the Tennessee Healthy Watershed Initiative and for a detailed summary of today’s projects and those funded to date, please visit http://www.tn.gov/environment/thwi/.   

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