About Us / Achievements

Harpeth Conservancy's expertise in all things water related has long been recognized.

Click here for the City of Franklin's acknowledgement 

Our recent major accomplishments include:

  • Bringing significant federal funding and national attention to the state and city of Franklin to remove the Lowhead dam in Franklin, which was completed in 2012. Removal of the dam will improve water quality and make the Harpeth one of only three free-flowing rivers in Tennessee. This project will also eliminate a nearly two-mile long pool impoundment in order to reconnect 36 miles of river and restore riffle/run aquatic habitat that is presently submerged. Because of these efforts, the Harpeth River was named as one of the top ten Waters to Watch in 2012 by the National Fish Habitat Action Plan. Harpeth Conservancy was recognized for this work with the 2013 Governor's Environmental Stewardship Award.
  • Conducting key river studies such as the Dissolved Oxygen (DO) Study, which enables us to take the pulse of the river’s health for the last ten years, since 2002. The DO study was just completed in September 2011
  • Addressing important pollution problems and reduced treated discharges from sewage treatment plants. During the summer, when the river flow is naturally low, the water quality for over 90 river miles does not meet state standards set to protect wildlife and human health
  • Implementing over 50 demonstration projects to restore stream water quality around the watershed in five counties
  • Executing the Water Flood Recovery Project, removing 135 tons of flood debris from the Harpeth River and nearby waterways and planting 10,000 trees  along the main river to replace trees uprooted during the 2010 flood to reduce erosion and increase the dissolved oxygen levels in the river
  • Part of partnership with the state and paddling organization to create the Harpeth River Blueway, which has been recognized in President Obama’s Rivers Initiative for 2012, and is creating a river trail for the entire 125 mile main stem and its significant tributaries.

Other past efforts by Harpeth Conservancy include:

  • Conducted stream restoration projects to restore over 4,000 feet of eroded streambank.
  • Designed and conducted the first watershed-wide assessment of stream habitat health and erosion problems, with trained volunteers cataloging over 200 sites during the fall of 2001. This assessment was funded, in part, with Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Nonpoint Source Program and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Former Board President, Mike Walton, conducted the first survey on erosion and habitat quality for the entire length of the Harpeth River, featured in the Williamson A.M. on May 22, 2001.
  • Hired its first Executive Director in July 2001 with a grant from River Network and opened an office in Franklin.
  • Raised money to print the first map for the Harpeth River watershed, produced by the Cumberland River Compact. The map indicates and describes which streams and segments of the Harpeth are considered "impaired" according to the Tennessee Department of Environmental Conservation and the 2002 303(d) list of impaired streams.
  • Launched the first volunteer sediment study for the Harpeth River with over 30 sites in collaboration with the Cumberland River Compact (CRC). The CRC designed this study because high silt content in the river after heavy rain was identified as a key concern by people at public meetings held by the CRC in 1999.
  • Co-sponsored with the Cumberland River Compact the first watershed workshop for science teachers in Williamson County.
  • Worked to see that seven miles of TVA transmission lines shifted off West Harpeth.
  • Participated in the completion of the largest stream mitigation (TSMP) in the state on West Harpeth.
  • Worked with the design team to ensure that SR 840 was realigned to protect most pristine headwaters systems in middle TN, the South Harpeth.
  • Served on the Stormwater Appeals Board and helped frame progressive, new local stormwater runoff and stream buffer regulations that were adopted.
  • Failing Lynwood sewage treatment plant fined and fixed.
  • Halted large private dam on South Harpeth.
  • Blocked proposal for use of Quarry on Scenic Harpeth for a C&D landfill.
  • Worked with the City and TDEC to demonstrate the need for a new permit for Franklin water withdrawals to protect critical instream flow- TDEC issued new protective permit November 2007.

Harpeth Conservancy's Scientific Studies Completed

  • Dissolved Oxygen in the Harpeth River 2000, 2002, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2015
  • Algae and sediment study 2017
  • Sediment Study at Lowhead Dam 2007-2008
  • Headwaters Nutrient Study 2006
  • Bank Erosion Study 2006
  • Benthic Macroinvertebrate Inventory 2005, 2007
  • Rapid Stream Assessment on Little Harpeth 2004
  • Sediment Study 2002
  • Visual Stream Assessment 2001