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Tennessee Healthy Watershed Initiative

THWI announces $458,000 in funding for five new innovative projects designed to gain knowledge and to protect and improve Tennessee's waters. (More information)

The Tennessee Healthy Watershed Initiative (THWI ) is a collaboration of federal, state and nonprofit organizations committed to maintaining and improving water resources in Tennessee watersheds. It was launched in August 2011 under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) executed by TDEC, TVA, the Tennessee Chapter of the Nature Conservancy and West Tennessee River Basin Authority.

The THWI provides a forum for communication, collaboration, and thoughtful planning among a broad partnership of agencies and interests and seeks to coordinate implementation of efforts to protect and improve Tennessee’s waters.

February 10, 2014 - Tennessee Healthy Watershed Initiative announced the second round of funding, seeking innovative projects designed to protect and improve Tennessee's waters

The Tennessee Healthy Watershed Initiative announced its plans to fund new watershed improvement and protection projects, with a focus on four of the Initiative’s Strategic Investment Areas. Areas of focus are Regional Water Planning; Restoration Projects; Scientific Research and Monitoring; and Protection of Waters and Wetlands. Up to $637,500 in funding will support projects across the state beginning in August 2014, lasting through December 2016.

October 2013 - THWI project at James E. Ward Agriculture Center in Lebanon wins GNRC Award!

Tennessee Healthy Watershed Initiative Announces $750,000 in Funding

Nine Innovative Projects Designed to Protect and Improve Tennessee's Waters

The Tennessee Healthy Watershed Initiative announced today its plans to fund nine new watershed improvement and protection projects, 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. Read the full press release.

THWI Mission

The THWI envisions “sustainable river systems throughout Tennessee in which the streams and rivers are managed to conserve the native species, natural plant communities, and ecosystems found in and along the river system while meeting the needs of human communities.  Healthy watersheds in Tennessee will need to be resilient, able to adapt to changing future conditions, and will need to provide adequate and reliable water supplies for healthy communities, strong economies and interconnections between rivers and their users.”

THWI Project Success on the Ground

Public invited to opening ceremony Wednesday, October 2, 2013 / 9:00 a.m. CDT.
Sandy Creek Restoration Site, near Muse park Jackson, Tennessee

  • The public is invited to celebrate the completed stream restoration project, which includes personal guided tours and informational signs.

    Brief Description:
    A restoration campaign to take Sandy Creek, a small tributary of the South Fork Forked Deer River, from a highly unstable stream that has turned into a kudzu covered gully to an engineered, meandering stream with native trees and rain gardens surrounding began in early 2013. The restoration combines several new approaches to managing stormwater, improving water quality, enhancing wildlife habitat and viewing, and providing educational opportunities for the local community.

THWI partners spent the past year in a strategic planning phase to ensure the success of the initiative, as well as carefully selecting and funding the two following “kick-off” projects that are currently being implemented:

  • James E. Ward Agriculture Center in Lebanon, Tennessee (945 East Baddour Pkwy)
    • Project includes - constructed wetlands, rain gardens, pervious pavement parking, stormwater best management practices demonstration projects, walking trails.
    • This site will also 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.
    • The Dedication Ceremony was held on December 18, 2012. (view project poster)
    • Award Received October 2013 - A Destination for Learning about Tennessee Healthy Watersheds: Examples of Innovative and Interactive Urban Stormwater Best Management Strategies in Middle Tennessee- Wilson County recently received an award from GNRC (Greater Nashville Regional Council of Governments) for innovation and excellence in the 'stormwater' category, for their work on the THWI project.

      R.T. Baldwin of Lebanon Stormwater, Gary Gaskin of GNRC Creative Education/Consulting, and John DeWaal the Wilson County engineer and stormwater manager.

THWI Strategic Plan

A three-year THWI Strategic Plan has been developed to build the partnership infrastructure of the initiative as well as identify strategic program investments that serve to demonstrate innovative efforts to protect and improve Tennessee’s waters. The priority strategic investment areas are:

  • Regional Water Planning
  • Restoration Projects
  • Scientific Research and Monitoring
  • Economic Development
  • Education and Empowerment
  • Identification and Exportation of Best Practices
  • Protection of Waters and Wetlands
  • Funding

THWI Funding Opportunities

The RFP for THWI funding is currently closed.


Tennessee Healthy Watershed Initiative Project Shelby County Madison County Madison County Wilson County Rutherford County Cumberland, Morgan, Fentress Counties Hamilton County Meigs, McMinn, Bradley Counties Knox County Hancock County Johnson County

Location on Map (County)


Funds Awarded

Rutherford – 1 Brown's Mill Lowhead Dam Removal on the East Fork of the Stones River $35,000
Johnson – 2 Doe Mountain Recreation Area Master Plan: A Blueprint for Complementary Tourism Development and Water Natural Resources Protection $100,000
Hancock – 3 Clinch Powell Clean Rivers Initiative- Enhancing Multi-Agency Coordination for Conservation Impacts $157,300
Knox – 4 Harrell Road Stormwater Demonstration Park $95,400
Meigs, McMinn, Bradley – 5 HEART of the Hiwassee Initiative $45,000
Hamilton – 6 Normal Park Upper Museum Magnet School Stormwater Mitigation and Watershed Educational Design $98,800
Cumberland, Morgan, Fentress – 7 Obed Watershed Water Resources Planning Tools and Monitoring Procedures to Assess Future Economic Growth $145,000
Madison – 8 Sandy Creek: Erosion Mitigation and Hydrologic Restoration of an Urban Stream $56,800
Shelby – 9 Shelby Farms Trails Gateway Improvements $44,400
Wilson -10 A Destination for Learning about Tennessee Healthy Watersheds: Examples of Innovative and Interactive Urban Stormwater Best Management Strategies in Middle Tennessee $134,000
Madison – 11 Cane Creek Tributary Restoration and Stormwater Biofiltration Project $32,000
  Total $943,700