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Tennessee Watersheds

Watershed Management Cycle

The watersheds in Tennessee have been divided into five groups based on the year of implementation in a five-year cycle. The Division of Water Resources bases its activities for each group by the group's position in the cycle. One or more key activities are occurring in each of the 5 watershed groups each year.

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Key activities occur during the cycle:

  1. Planning and Data Review.

    Existing data and reports from appropriate agencies and organizations are compiled and used to describe the current conditions and status of rivers and streams. Review of all data and comparison of agency work plans guide the development of an effective monitoring strategy.

  2. Monitoring.

    Field data are collected for streams in the watershed and follow-up collection occurs approximately a year later.

  3. Assessment.

    Monitoring data are used to determine the designated use support status of streams and lakes in the watershed by comparing data to the water quality standards.

  4. TMDL or Alternative (Restoration Plan) Development.

    In some cases, TMDLs are developed to determine pollutant loads that support designated uses. The allowable pollutant loads are then allocated among non-point sources and NPDES permitted dischargers within the watershed. When appropriate, alternative plans are developed where existing, required activities are expected to lead to full recovery in the absence of a TMDL.

  5. Permitting.

    Issuance and expiration dates of individual discharge permits are synchronized based on watersheds.

  6. Stakeholder Watershed Meetings.

    Stakeholder meetings are held in each watershed as a way to bring together and engage many different agencies, groups and citizens, allowing them to hear about activities that are happening in the watershed and to seek collaborative effort opportunities.

General time-line for watershed activities throughout the state: