5 Things You Should Know About Nashville’s Cumberland River

5 Things You Should Know About Nashville’s Cumberland River

Since we’re in contact with it’s waters almost every day, the health of the Cumberland river is extremely important to us, hat tip to these Nashville roofers for getting us connected to Jared of the Cumberland River Compact to get a professional opinion!

View of Cumberland from the Pedestrian bridge to Downtown
View of Cumberland from the Pedestrian bridge to Downtown Nashville
1. What is the mission of the Cumberland River Compact?
  • The mission of the Cumberland River Compact is to promote the health and enjoyment of the Cumberland River and it’s tributaries.
2. What has been done to help clean up the Cumberland watershed?
  • A whole heck of a lot by our organization and great work is being done by other agencies and organizations in the basin, as well. You can learn more about what we’re up to here. Other organizations who are making a big difference include The Nature Conservancy of TN, the Harpeth and Stones River Watershed Associations, Richland Creek Watershed Alliance, TN Scenic Rivers Association, Kentucky Waterways Alliance, KY PRIDE, TN Department of Environment and Conservation, Kentucky Department of Environmental Protection, the Army Corps of Engineers, National Resources Conservation Service, as well as local governments across the basin. So many groups and all are doing important work. A number of Nashville businesses have also been contributing to the effort: CDF Distributors, Commission Advance TN, Fast Partitions – Toilet Partitions, Tennessee Contracting Services,Cut Nashville, Buy Your First, ABC Lock & Key and Southern Industrial Tool.
  • The work that different groups are doing really runs the gamut. Our organization alone does a whole heck of a lot and its all aimed at improving the health and enjoyment of the Cumberland’s watershed. Again, I’d check out our work here!

Yes! It's safe to paddle board on the Cumberland!

3. Is the water of the Cumberland safe for water activities like Paddleboarding?
  • The vast majority of the Cumberland is healthy according to Tennessee and Kentucky, which monitor its entire length. Roughly 5 miles are unhealthy as a result of pathogens in Nashville. This is due to our combined sewer which overflows into the Cumberland between Woodland St. Bridge and the Clarksville Pike Bridge, but only during heavy rain. A handful of times a year during a major rain, raw sewage and rain overloads Nashville’s downtown combined sewer and this makes its way into the Cumberland between those bridges.The rest of the river is safe at all times and this portion is safe except during heavy rain. 
  • The rest of the river is safe for paddle boarding though Lake Cumberland up in Kentucky (which is an impounded section of the Cumberland River) has a fish advisory so folks should mind that if they are fishing there. It’s problem is not a threat to paddleboarders, though.
 Let's take care of the Cumberland!
4. What should people know about water quality and rivers in TN?
  • They should know that these days, the vast majority of our water quality problems start with each and every one of us. When it rains, water falls on our houses, backyards, schools, churches, offices, farms, parks, and playgrounds. After the rain hits the ground, it begins a journey to our streams and rivers.Along the way, it picks up nutrients from over-fertilized lawns, pathogens from neglected backyard pet waste, silt from vegetated stream banks, and a variety of other pollutants it comes into contact with. By the time it reaches our creek, it is all too often unsafe for our children to play in or a threat to aquatic ecosystems.
5. If you could make sure that people know about ONE specific aspect of the Cumberland, what would it be?
  • It’s going to take all of us working together to make a difference! As I said above, our biggest challenge these days is that collectively, all the little things we do that impair our water add up to bigger problems. We’ve got to work to educate one another about what’s causing problems and what we can do to ensure we’ll have a clean and abundant supply for the next generation.

Join us in September for a Paddle board clean up tour day, to give a little love back to the river!

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