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Environmental Division

Natural Resources Office, Ecology Section

James K. Polk Building, Suite 900
505 Deaderick Street
Nashville, Tennessee 37243-0334
Phone: 615.253.2472
Fax: 615.741.1098

Dr. Deedee Kathman, Supervisor


Tennessee’s water resources are critical for our citizens’ health and welfare. The Tennessee Department of Transportation, in cooperation with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, the U.S Army Corps of Engineers, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is working to protect these resources. With approximately 60,000 miles of streams and 87,000 miles of roads in the state, it is inevitable that streams will be crossed.

Parkers Branch
Parkers Branch
Williamson County: SR 840; 2-barrel culvert under Ramp U to SR 840 at Peytonsville Road interchange Williamson County: SR 840; 2-barrel culvert under Ramp U to SR 840 at Peytonsville Road
interchange; looking downstream to culvert.
(Photos by Dr. Deedee Kathman)

Minimizing impacts to natural resources requires careful planning and communication between agencies. The advanced planning of a road project includes an ecological survey of the affected area. For streams, a stream assessment is made by analyzing the physical characteristics, aquatic life, and surrounding habitat. The assessment is conducted to ensure that the proper permit is obtained, determine mitigation needs, and provide a pre-construction stream condition for comparison during and after the construction process. If it is necessary to relocate a stream, care is taken to mimic the characteristics of the existing stream, including the channel dimensions and substrate. A riparian zone is established along the banks using native grasses, shrubs, and trees.

Cumberland County: SR-28 (US-127) over the Obed River

It is everyone’s responsibility to protect the waters of Tennessee. It is a goal of the Tennessee Department of Transportation to be a leader in water resource protection by following the established stream crossing and alteration guidelines, using the best management practices for erosion/sediment control and conducting routine inspections of each project to ensure that this goal is attained.