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Strong Streams Newsletter
Spring 2019
Photos of a sinkhole repair on Greenwell Road in Knox County.

Flood Damage Across the County after 2019 Flooding

Flood waters swamped the state during the wettest February Tennessee has on record. A statewide declaration of emergency was put into place on February 23, 2019, by the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency. Interstate I-40 closed when a 50-mile stretch was wiped out by a landslide and the fix for opening all lanes is set for April. Several of Knox County roads were closed due to high water. A large sinkhole opened up and swallowed half of Greenwell Road, which took several days to fix using a flowable fill plug. See above for a series of photos taken while Knox County workers fixed the road.

As of February 23, 2019, Knoxville-Knox County Emergency Management Agency damage assessment teams verified 1,182 reports of damage to residential and commercial structures.  Based on FEMA damage assessment criteria, 34 structures were destroyed and 332 had major or minor damage. There were 789 structures placed in the “affected” category, which means water did not enter the primary living/work area, And, 27 that were inspected were found to have no damage. The damaged was estimated at $32,455,160, not including contents.

Governor Bill Lee sent a formal request to President Trump on March 22, 2019, for a Major Disaster Declaration to make federal recovery assistance available to city and county jurisdictions impacted in February’s significant flooding and severe storms. Knox County was included in that request. The qualifying losses for the county, municipal, the state agency, and utility infrastructure impacts and emergency expenditures totaled $68.3 million due to the flooding and severe storms.

Knox County Receives Grant for the Stock Creek Watershed

Stock Creek is located in the rural area of South Knox County and is currently listed as an "impaired" stream by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC).  It is impaired for high levels of bacteria and the sources are from human (leaking and failed septic systems) and animal sources (wildlife and farm animals). This means that levels of the potentially harmful bacteria exceed state standards.

On March 1, 2019, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture awarded Knox County Stormwater Management a water quality grant for the Stock Creek Watershed to provide cost-share funding for failed septic systems and for installing Best Management Practices (BMPs) on farms.  

Monitoring results in Stock Creek showed that failed septic systems and poor pasture on farms contributes to the bacteria in the creek. Knox County Stormwater Management and its partners have been working to reduce the levels of bacteria in Stock Creek since 2002. Much progress has been made in the reduction of this bacteria and the county is hopeful that a final round of septic repairs and farm BMPs will reduce the amount of bacteria in Stock Creek to acceptable levels.

If you think your system may be failing, call Knox County Stormwater Management at 865-215-5540 to learn how to take advantage of the funding available through this grant. The grant will pay 75% of the cost of a septic system repair or sewer hookup.

If you are interested in inquiring about available funding for farm BMPs, call the Knox County Soil Conservation District at 865-523-3338 Ext. 3. Cost-share funding for Agriculture BMPs will pay up to 85% of the cost of installation.
We're at it again. . . Cheers
Knox County Stormwater is partnering with the City of Knoxville Solid Waste Department, University of Tennessee Stormwater Management and the Water Quality Forum for the 3rd annual Cheers to Clean Water on June 9th! This year’s event is called the Tennessee River Paddle-Off, where we will get our canoes, kayaks, and paddle boards out for a good ol’ time. Participants are encouraged to bring their boats to Suttree Landing Park in South Knoxville on a Sunday afternoon to enjoy the Tennessee River through a competitive race OR a leisurely float. Following the water activities, everyone is welcome to join the celebration of clean water through local craft beer, a live bluegrass band called Check Engine, raffle prizes, and activities for the whole family.
Sign up today to reserve your spot at this event; it is one of a kind! Don’t worry if you don’t have a boat, as there are a LIMITED number of boats available for rent. But don’t wait, register today at
A big thank you to our sponsors for their support goes to Erosion Supply, Waste Connections, Fulghum MacIndoe, Visit Knoxville, Waste Management, Keep the TN River Beautiful, and the East Tennessee Whitewater Club. Thanks to Alliance Brewing Company, Hi-Wire Brewing, and Printshop Brewing for their libation donations, and to all who donated to the raffle prize drawing.
If you or your organization would like to be a sponsor or raffle prize donor, please contact Stephanie Carlson at or 865.254.5544 for more information on how you can pledge your support!

This is EarthFest’s 20th anniversary! To celebrate, CAC AmeriCorps selected the theme 20/20 Vision. This theme explores ways Knoxville and EarthFest have engaged in sustainable practices for the past twenty years, as well as showcases what sustainability will look like in the next 20 years.
This event will bring together local leaders, small businesses, and corporations to share their vision and their products that will help 2020 be greener.
New this year to the EarthFest celebration are small one-on-one sessions that will give attendees the opportunity to talk to local experts about a broad range of green topics including, home weatherization, solar energy, zero-waste/recycling, composting, urban gardening and microplastics.
More information is available at

Streambank Restoration Efforts

Watch our AmeriCorps Team install a willow fascine, which is a stream bank stabilization technique.  The willow stems were cut from vigorous healthly willows. The restoration technique involves harvesting of dormant willow stems. Facines are created by bundling the willows or weaving them and installing them in shallow trenches along the stream bank. The stems will sprout shoots and roots during the gowing season. Once established, willow cuttings form a web of roots that provide highly effective soil stabilization.  For more information about how the Knox County Environmental Stewardship Program can help you, visit:
Hidden Rivers, a stunning, hour-long film, showcases the vibrant waters of SouthernAppalachia, and draws the viewer in to explore the little-known life of the Southern  Appalachian Rivers. Check out the trailer here, Join us at Central Cinema, 1205 N Central St, Knoxville, TN 37917 on Tuesday, April 30, 2019 at 6:30 PM. 

Knox County Stormwater and Tennessee Valley Authority is partnering with Freshwaters Illustrated to show the public the biodiversity found in our region and the importance of protecting our waters from pollution.

Tickets are a suggested donation of $5. All proceeds will go to Conservation Fisheries, a nonprofit with the goal to restore fish populations that have been eliminated because of pollution or habitat destruction. Purchase your ticket now.

There will be a second showing on May 16th at Scruffy City Hall at
7pm. Stay tuned for more information on that event.


250K Tree Day at Knox County 

250K Tree Day was a statewide effort by the Tennessee Tree Countcil to plant 250,000 trees in Tennessee in 2019. The ultimate goal is to plant and care for 1 million native trees in Tennessee. Knox County Stormwater volunteered as a distribution site for native trees, such as Loblolly Pines, Wild Plum, Northern Red Oak, and Eastern Redbud. We distributed almost 800 trees to folks in Knox County. Check out the hashtag #250Ktreeday.
2018-2019 CAC AmeriCorps members serving at Knox County Stormwater.
From left to right: Alexis Jenkin, Nora Jacobs, Eric Valeriano, Lisa Cicchetti

Number of hours served by the members to date:  4,800
Education Outreach 
Only 40% of Knox County students are reading on grade level by third grade. Mayor Glenn Jacobs initiated the Read City USA collaborative to engage and empower the community of parents, educators, caregivers and institutions to ensure that all children develop a love of reading and learning. The AmeriCorps team has been encouraging literacy and environmental education through a new series of children's books. These books are illustrated and written by members of the team. The books engage children in stories about animated objects that travel through a life-cycle of a typical polluant found in local streams. The AmeriCorps members are currently working with local libraries to set up times to share the book. 

Field Work
The Stormwater Department is required to regularly inspect the Public Works Campus for pollution and make suggestions for how to make the campus less impactful to the nearby creek. The AmeriCorps team noticed that inspections were recording actions that would improve water quality on the Public Works Campus, but it was difficult to determine if they were being followed up on because there was no way to document corrective actions. A member designed an electronic system to help make the forms easier to update and to prompt improvements when needed. 


Visit our website at to learn more about our programs and where to get your questions answered. Visit our Facebook page to keep up to date on all the latest happenings on the streams of Knox County.
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Knox County Stormwater Management 
205 W. Baxter Ave. 
Knoxville, TN 37917
Phone: (865) 215-5540
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Knox County Stormwater Management · 205 W. Baxter Ave. · Knoxville, TN 37917 · USA

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