New withdrawal limits help protect one of the nation’s most endangered rivers

Three tubers enjoy Tennessee's Harpeth River, which received greater protections this week after being named one of the ten most endangdered rivers in the country. (© Judi Heumann)

With input from SELC and Harpeth River Watershed Association (HRWA), the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) announced more stringent restrictions on the City of Franklin’s permit to withdraw water from the Harpeth River, a state scenic river named this year as one of the nation’s most endangered.

SELC and HRWA collaborated with TDEC and the City of Franklin to achieve key changes to the water permit, such as additional withdrawal conditions, monthly reporting of Franklin’s water withdrawals, and biological monitoring below and above the water intake.

As a result of our advocacy and participation in the multi-stakeholder process, TDEC is now funding continued scientific work to establish low-flow thresholds for the river. The withdrawal permit will be re-evaluated based on this new information, enabling better science-based decisions that will protect the Harpeth River now and into the future.

“As stakeholders in these critical Harpeth River investigations, we are pleased that TDEC has issued a permit that will incorporate site-specific data as soon as it is available and will lead to healthier river conditions," said Annie Passino, Staff Attorney in SELC’s Nashville Office. "We are hopeful water withdrawals from the river will be conservative as we continue to collect better data on how to best protect the Harpeth."

Additional coverage:

Long-awaited Harpeth River water withdrawal permit issued” from The Tennessean.

TDEC sets new guidelines for Harpeth River water withdrawal” from the Franklin Home Page.

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