News and events from Knox County Stormwater Management.
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Strong Streams Newsletter
Summer 2019

3rd Annual
Cheers to Clean Water:
Tennessee River Paddle-Off
In our 3rd year of Cheers to Clean Water, we shifted sports and the location. We headed to Suttree Landing Park along the Tennessee River. The Tennessee River Paddle-Off event encouraged folks to get on the water in their canoes, kayaks and paddle boards for a fun float or a competitive race.

On a sunny June afternoon, we did just that! Over 80 people gathered for this unique event that was held at the City of Knoxville’s newest park, Suttree Landing. Boaters of all types plied around Dickinson Island (Island Home Airport), while others on shore cheered them on for the 4km or 8km races. Some participants joined a river cleanup with the City of Knoxville Solid Waste Department, collecting 12 large bags of trash! Throughout the event, people gathered on the lawn where they enjoyed craft beer from local breweries and music from the bluegrass busking band, Check Engine. A kids’ tent was stocked with activities, including the chance to build a floating wetland that filters pollution out of water. Folks had the opportunity to learn about green stormwater practices that are installed at Suttree Landing Park, like pervious concrete and rain gardens.

This event raised over $3,800 for the Water Quality Forum, a non-profit organization that works to keep the waters of East Tennessee clean. A portion of these proceeds will help fund WaterFest, the Water Quality Forum’s largest annual education event that serves 800 students K-3rd grade, engaging them in hands-on activities that teach them about local water resources and how to protect them.

The Paddle-Off  is a partnership between Knox County Stormwater Management, University of Tennessee Biosystems & Engineering Department and Stormwater Department, City of Knoxville Solid Waste, and the Water Quality Forum.

Thank you to our event sponsors that made this event possible: Erosion Supply, Waste Connections, Fulghum MacIndoe & Associates, Visit Knoxville, Waste Management, Keep the Tennessee River Beautiful, and the East Tennessee Whitewater Club.

Thank you to our beers sponsors: Alliance Brewing Company, Hi-Wire Brewing, and Printshop Brewing Co. And thanks to everyone that joined us on the river. Cheers!
Children's Books

Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs is making children’s literacy a top priority with Read City USA. In support of those important efforts, we are proud to announce that Knox County Stormwater Management has created a series of children's books about water quality! Water quality and environmental science can be difficult topics to discuss in the classroom. We wanted to make it easier. Our CAC AmeriCorps Team wrote and illustrated a trilogy of children’s books about three types of water pollution in Tennessee. These books will be made available online, so keep an eye out for future posts with more details or contact

STRONG STREAMS is for K-1st graders. The main character in this book is a stream who flows from the mountains into the city and slowly becomes polluted with sediment along the way. 

CLEAR CREEK CATASTROPHE is for 2nd and 3rd graders. The town of Friendship is shocked when one of their neighbors gets sick from drinking water from the creek. The whole town works together to clean Clear Creek. 

POLY’S POLLUTION PROBLEM is for 4th and 5th graders. Poly is a tiny piece of plastic. She starts out as part of a shampoo bottle, but after she is littered on the side of the road she is taken on an adventure that shows her how much plastic is in the river. 

There are some astonishing fish facts for the streams of the Southern Appalachia. Did you know that three-quarters of the United States' fish species live in these waters? Not only that but 90 percent of American mussels and crayfish, 80 percent of North America's salamanders and half of its freshwater turtles live in these rivers and streams.

How can you appreciate something when you don't know it exists? Inspiration for protecting this region's hidden diversity is now possible with the stunning documentary called Hidden Rivers. Freshwaters Illustrated Director Jeremy Monroe and award-winning wildlife photographer David Herasimtschuk created this beautiful and informative film. David says this about his hope for his striking images, "that they will help motivate a new discourse in the way we all view rivers. With all of us having some connection to a river, the power to introduce communities to their aquatic neighbors may become fundamental in the movement to conserve these wild environments." 

For those who joined Knox County Stormwater at Central Cinema or Scruffy City Hall to view the film, we hope you enjoyed learning about the beautiful ecosystems in the vibrant waters of Southern Appalachia. Both of the showings sold out! We appreciate everyone's participation. To view the film trailer, visit  Learn about future showings of the film by visiting

Knox County Stormwater and Tennessee Valley Authority partnered with Freshwaters Illustrated to show the public the biodiversity found in our region and the importance of protecting our waters from pollution. Conservation Fisheries, Inc received the proceeds of the event. 
Over 20 million Americans participated in the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970 by publicly demonstrating their devotion to a cleaner planet. Earth Day is still celebrated on April 22nd each year. It has now grown into a global holiday.

Many attribute the passing of the passing of the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts as well as the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency to the hugely successful Earth Day Celebration in that same year of 1970.

Earth Day was established to focus on environmental issues that impact all Americans, such as air quality, water quality, and waste management. Its success is rooted in its universal appeal: everyone benefits from a clean and healthy planet. Human health is dependent on healthy food, clean air and clean water. There are lots of ways to be involved with Earth Day locally. Knoxville has been celebrating for the last 20 years with a free, family and pet friendly event called EarthFest.

This annual festival raises awareness for sustainable living practices and local environmental stewardship efforts. This year, EarthFest had a special theme: 20-20 Vision. The event celebrated the past and looked to the future. EarthFest: 20-20 Vision was held on April 20th at Knoxville Botanical Gardens and Arboretum. Check out for info about next year’s celebration.
2018-2019 CAC AmeriCorps members serving at Knox County Stormwater.
From left to right: Alexis Jenkin, Lisa Cicchetti, Nora Jacobs, Eric Valeriano

Number of hours served by these AmeriCorps members:  6,880 hours
The primary duty of the Knox County Stormwater CAC AmeriCorps members is to provide assistance to county staff in carrying out Knox County’s mission to provide our citizens with essential services, while exercising professionalism, enthusiasm, and creativity in the workplace. The AmeriCorps members gain experience in working with GPS technology, project development, engineering design, infrastructure and stream surveying, disaster preparation and public outreach. Some accomplishments of the Team during the past term are listed below.
Education Outreach 
  • Educated 1,500 students about water quality using the Augmented Reality Sandbox
  • Used Project WET strategies to educate the public at 25 events
  • Wrote and Illustrated 3 Children's Books
  • Educated 100 EPW campus employees on pollution prevention practices
Pollution Prevention
  • Removed 1,200 pounds of sediment from the EPW campus
  • Finished 25 Environmental Stewardship Designs, including grass swales, rain gardens, and streambank restorations 
  • Created a form for better tracking of problem areas on the EPW campus
  • Surveyed 23 miles of streams for buffer and erosion impacts
  • Collected 70 samples to monitor for bacteria in streams
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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