RCWA filed documents requesting Chancery Court review Ordinance BL2015-1094, the Saint Thomas Hospital Specific Plan that Metro Council approved May 21, 2015.  August 14, 2015 Judge McCoy denied  Motion to Dismiss the case.

A Summary Judgement hearing has been scheduled for June 24, 2016, 9 AM. Please check “updates” at the bottom of this post for latest news about our case.

More background… RCWA spoke out and submitted comments at the public hearings of the Metro Planning Commission and Council. We also sent a letter to Metro Water Services Assistant Director, Tom Palko on May 11, questiioning the department’s exemption of the floodway buffer requirement for the St. Thomas Plan.  This irregularity, and the failure to use the latest FEMA Flood maps were the reasons why RCWA asked for clarification from Chancery Court.

The Imperial House property May 2010, St. Thomas redevelopment site.

The Imperial House  May 2010, St. Thomas redevelopment site.

RCWA does not like to spend time and $$ in court actions, but if we don’t act, Richland Creek will not survive urbanization.

The decision to move forward with intense development in the floodplain, WITHOUT stream buffer protection will cause irreversible harm to Richland Creek, while increasing flood risk, and setting a precedence for more of the same throughout Davidson County.

Protecting the floodway buffer requirement RULE is good for all the streams and residents in Davidson County. Intense development in floodplains inevitably creates a call for expensive flood control measures to be installed that threaten aquatic ecosytems. Our mission is to protect Richland Creek, its ability to support fish and aquatic life.

To help defend Nashville’s freshwater resources…  Donate online here, or by mail to: “RCWA” P.O. Box 92016 Nashville, TN 37209.  Thank you.

LATEST UPDATES ….
Davidson County Chancery Court, Case #15-0643-II         
September 9, 2016 – Summary Judgement Hearing (Judicial Officer Bonnyman, Claudia C)
July 1, 2016 – Order transferring case from Part II to Part I
June 27, 2016 Summary Judgement (Order of Recusal)
August 14, 2015 Motion to Dismiss, Denied.


The Metro Planning Commission approved, with conditions the St. Thomas Hospital Specific Plan (rezone) at thier March 26 Public Hearing.  Conditions were directed to be completed with filing of thier final Specific Plan.

Conditions include:

  • Stream bank restoration and removal of all the impervious surfaces on the old Knights of Columbus (KOC) property
  • A Conservaiton Overlay be placed on the floodway portion of the Imperial House property and on all of the KOC property
  • Traffic Impact Study completed for area

St. Thomas will seek approval from the Metro Council right away, with the first reading expected to be in April and second reading already scheduled for May 5, 2015 (Public Hearing).

Get the Metro staff report filed with Planning, including prelimnary site plan here.

The Planning Commission approved development of 450,000 square feet of mixed use and 230 residential units on 6.76 acres next to the currently designated Richland Creek floodway. Land use rights from both properties (office retail & residential) were combined and placed onto the old Imperial House property (Parcel B), zoned RM 40.  Photo of the Imperial House property was taken May 2010.

Metro Stormwater approved the Plan as filed, stating the 75-foot floodway buffer requirement was exempt because property was previously developed.

We will keep you updated.



Joel Bell Covington, Jr.
(1948—2015)

RCWA had no idea how fortunate we were, when Joel volunteered for our dissolved oxygen study in August 2011.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

At the Creek, after being there just six-hours earlier to collect samples, Joel’s natural demeanor shined the last morning of our study.

An avid fisherman, strong advocate for rivers and streams, Joel served on our board the next two-years. He shared his expertise and passion freely, keeping us to task and distilling points for effect. We are grateful he took time from his rich, busy life. His good sense and forthcoming ways quickly made him a dear friend, contributing long-lasting impact to our mission. He later served as president for his neighborhood association (Whitland area).

His wonderful wife Charlotte, partner of 45-years, and his entire loving family know how much can be attributed to Joel, but in the spirit of his way—less is more, we will keep it short. Goodbye Joel. You are and will be sorely missed.

There is a celebration for Joel on Sunday, March 8 from 2:00 to 4:00 pm at Cheekwood Botanical Hall. A change in date was made due to weather, so friends and family out of town may travel, attend.

Here is The Tennessean obituary and Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management tribute.



At a Public Hearing held by TDEC Division of Water Resources on Feb 19, RCWA provided a Handout outlining issues and conditions recommended for approval of Whitworth Subdivison’s request for a TDEC Aquatic Resource Alteration Permit—to dredge a portion of their 3.5-acre in-line pond for removal of 3000 cubic yards of accumulated sediment.

It took considerable amount of time to review the subdivision’s 3-phase Planned Unit Development (PUD) files, spanning 20+ years of construction, additions, and alterations. The Handout speaks to the problems found, justifying a call for conditions to be implemented for permit approval.

The in-line pond construction occurred during the PUD Phase III [1990s] timeline. Many adjustments and additions had to be made, including reconstruction. Perhaps missteps and issues would have been averted if regulatory agencies were consulted?  The pond is illicit, without legal standing, and documents called for something much different (a detention pond) than what exists today (a retention pond).

Approx. 3.5 acres, Whitworth pond

Approx. 3.5 acres, Whitworth pond

A detention pond holds storm water runoff for a short period of time and filtrates-out pollution, and reduces surface storage. A retention pond holds runoff for a much longer period of time, provides no mitigation of runoff pollution, and leaves less flood storage available. (The pond’s impervious liner prevents filtration.)  Read more.

Built in path of stream channel, the pond collects two upland freshwater tributaries headed west to Bosley Springs Branch that immediately mix with an exorbitant amount of stormwater runoff that includes I-440. Placement of the pond, and its stormwater toxic-mix has impacted water quality, altered fish habitat, and increased flood risk.

Our conditions for mitigation ask that: freshwaters be conveyed back to the Bosley Springs Branch, a bio-retention area be created, and any dredging be conducted during the dry season. The results would be cleaner water, freshwater reconnecting to a natural channel, and more flood storage made available.

We proposed a joint public/private plan to Whitworth representatives as a long-term solution to the issues created by the original pond construction and subsequent attempts to maintain its status. Our plan aims at preserving Bosley Springs Branch and Richland Creek as a freshwater habitat for fish and aquatic life.

The Division will make a decision for the permit after the public comment period ends, and announced it is extending the comment period until March 2. Send comments to:

STATE OF TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND CONSERVATION DIVISION OF WATER RESOURCES

Attn: Brian Canada
William R. Snodgrass Tennessee Tower
312 Rosa L. Parks Avenue, 11th Floor
Nashville, Tennessee 37243-1102
Email: Brian.Canada@TN.GOV
FAX: 615-532-0686



Read the RCWA Press Release sent out to local media outlets February 16—TDEC Holds Public Hearing on Whitworth Permit to Dredge Pond. 

RCWA has discussed devising a long-term restoration plan with Whitworth to meet state water quality standards for fish and aquatic habitat.  The hearing is a great opportunity for people to express support for developing a joint public/private plan that could serve as a model solution for other restoration efforts. The issue here, is that a detention pond, conceived to mitigate stormwater for a Planned Unit Development (PUD), doesn’t serve that purpose.  Please read press release! 

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Richland Creek Nashville Tennessee

Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation issued notice for an Aquatic Resource Alteration Permit  on December 10 concerning Richland Creek.  Citizens have 30 days from that date to request a Public Hearing.

Grab your favorite holiday beverage and write a brief letter asking TDEC to hold a public hearing about this permit that must arrive by January 10, 2015.

Please include the permit #NRS14.318, your name, address and a water quality concern you have in your letter, then mail it to the attention of:
Brian Canada
Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation
Division of Water Resources, Natural Resources Unit
William R. Snodgrass Tennessee Tower
312 Rosa L. Parks Avenue, 11th Floor
Nashville, TN 37243

Citizens have a vested interest in the integrity and health of our streams and watershed. The Whitworth development had impounded a branch of Richland Creek to create a pond, and is requesting a permit to dredge the resource to remove accumulated sediment. Besides dirt and stormwater pollution issues, TDEC determined water quality is poor—high concentration of Nitrate and Phosphorus, and not meeting its most important classified use—fish and aquaitc life.

The pond construction obstructs natural flow downstream, eliminating the ability of water to reach the branch in the Whitland neighborhood that residents love and named Kingfisher (aka Bosley Springs).

We submitted our public hearing request, pointing out that citizens need ample time to understand and ask questions about this permit. The notice was issued 15 days before the busiest time of the year, when many are out of town celebrating the holiday. There is no good reason for the pond, the pollution it creates, or the stream flow it obstructs. Let’s not continue to dredge, but restore its natural flow and habitat to improve water quality at Whitworth, Kingfisher and Richland Creek.

Read TDEC’s permit notice here.
Read our letter requesting a public hearing.

Thanks for taking time during this holiday season to defend Richland Creek!



IMG_0761 small  IMG_074 small Turns out, the tanker spill that occurred on August 13 was not prevented from reaching Richland Creek, as news reported.  RCWA visited Richland Creek and sent an official letter to Tri Star Transport LLC August 14.

Read our action update.

Read official letter sent to Tri Star Transport LLC.

Briefly…  Because we heard conflicting news reports about impact to Richland Creek by tanker accident, RCWA went and looked firsthand. The day after, we observed the spill had clearly entered Richland Creek and petroleum product was still flowing downstream, beyond containment booms in Creek. Many dead fish, crayfish and snakes were seen at containment area where environmental clean-up crew, Shield Environmental were still working. Oddly, they had reported “no fish dead” in Richland Creek same day.

Clearly the public was misinformed.  

Read our latest email update regarding the fuel spill incident…

Tennessean reports driver of tanker cited by Metro Police. Read more…

Citizens file lawsuit against driver of truck and Tri star, almost a year later… Read Fox 17 News story here.



RCWA received 43 gifts, totaling $2,420 for the Big Payback! We will put your generosity to work for Richland Creek!

Wow! The Big Payback made an amazing impact on Nashville and Middle Tennessee nonprofits. In one 24-hour period, 11,468 gifts raised $1,492,492.50! We were proud to be a participant in this inaugural event.

Big cheers and special thanks to Coco’s Italian Market for hosting our Watch Party and donating a sponsor level gift at happy hour! The staff was so welcoming and terrific, and as usual, the pizza delicious!

And a big thanks to our Big Payback supporters!



rcwa-website-as-viewed-on-an-ipad

It’s been a long time in the making (over a year) but we finally have a new WordPress website up and running. We hope you will find it more pleasurable to read and navigate.

Now you can sign up for events, choose your membership level, view a Google map of the watershed and much more.

In addition, our blog is now on our website, so there is no need to visit an additional site. Our older posts can still be found at the old blog.

Thanks to former board member W. Stacy Vereen of Loyal Brand Company for donating his time and talent in making the website and the new logo happen.



Person with shovel about to plant a native plant

RCWA is calling-on stakeholders to plant a native in your yard for Earth Day, then show and tell us about what you planted.

Did you have specific purpose for your choice of plant—attract birds, butterflies or pollinators to your yard or vegetable garden? Did you want to absorb stormwater, prevent soil erosion, or fill-in a hole? Maybe you just love the plant. Tell us, and post a photo of it when you’re done on our Facebook page.

Be sure to pick a native species that will be happy with the sunlight and soil type of your planting site.

Abbreviated List of Native Plants

If you need help picking a native plant, visit our abbreviated list of natives from Warner Park Nature Center’s brochure, Landscaping with Native Plants for reference.

Share with us what you planted:

  1. Email us a short description of what you planted with any specific reason you chose your plant (e.g. to attract bees, erosion control, food for animals, color of flowers, etc)
  2. Post a photo of your planting on our Facebook page by midnight, April 22. Don’t forget to like us while you are there!

Appreciation

We’re looking forward to showing off your contribution to enhance biodiversity. The photo that receives the most likes on Facebook will receive a gift of appreciation from us.


We had loads of fun planting 500 trees and shrubs on Richland Creek with volunteers this past cool season. Now it’s the time for flowers, grasses and ferns.

Many thanks and enjoy your springtime with nature.



Richland Creek Watershed Alliance. All rights reserved. Richland Creek Watershed Alliance is a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation.