Original Date: 01/22/2001
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Boone Watershed Partnership
The Boone Watershed Partnership is a unique alliance among local residents, recreational users, governmental entities, educators, industrial contributors, and other interested parties who are dedicated to improving and protecting the water quality and habitat of Boone Lake and its tributaries in northeastern Tennessee. Through various efforts, the participants of the Partnership have restored a once polluted and unsafe recreational area/water source, as well as continued to work together to identify pollution problems and solutions within the watershed area.
Boone Lake, a 4,600-acre reservoir in northeastern Tennessee, is part of a series of man-made lakes built in the 1950s and operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority for flood control, navigation, and hydropower generation. While the lake area consists of 130 miles of developed shoreline, the watershed area feeding Boone Lake covers 670 square miles. Given the small size of the watershed area, the close proximity of rapidly developing urban cities, as well as agricultural and animal waste runoffs, Boone Lake soon became vulnerable to a variety of water quality problems. Although point source pollution caused by urban wastewater sewage discharges was initially brought under control, the Boone watershed was still impacted by runoff from sediment, animal waste, agricultural precipitation, and failed septic systems in the area. To address this problem, the Tri-Cities Tennessee/Virginia Region established the Boone Watershed Partnership in 1995.
The focus of the Boone Watershed Partnership is to partner with local users; regional, state, and Federal entities; educators; and others to identify and address water resource issues in the Boone watershed. The Partnership’s objectives include sharing information on water conditions and issues among resource agencies, water users, and the public; developing consensus on priorities and actions needed to address regional issues; marshaling resources to carry out needed actions; and promoting awareness of the importance of water resources to the regional economy and to the quality of life. In addition, the participants of the Partnership work toward a community-based program of identifying and correcting pollution problems within the watershed area.
The Boone Watershed Partnership employs various programs to fulfill its objectives. Educating the public on environmental issues is generating the largest dividend in improving the water quality and habitat of Boone Lake and its tributaries. Several aggressive group/regional environmental programs help educate the residents of the watershed area as well as encourage private landowners to protect streamside vegetation, control erosion, and prevent pollution. The Partnership sponsors an annual one-day conservation camp where fourth-grade students from three local area counties learn about pollution, pollution prevention, conservation, and environmental issues. Local educators are also given the opportunity to attend a one-day, in-service environmental education session.
In 1998 and 1999, the Boone Watershed Partnership received the Tennessee Department of Environmental and Conservation’s Aquatic Resource Preservation Award. As a result of the Partnership’s efforts: Students gain real-world experiences, problem solving skills, and greater respect for water resources, local government, and themselves;
Educators gain college credit toward continuing education requirements, enhanced teaching skills and tools, and monetary awards toward science and ecology clubs; and
Communities gain cleaner water, improvement of aquatic habitats, and cost-sharing opportunities.
For more information see the
Point of Contact for this survey.