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Watershed Teams

From the very beginning, a big part of TVA’s work of has been making the Tennessee River and the rivers that run into it safer, cleaner and more useful to families, farms and businesses.

photo of kids cleaning up a creek
Students help measure the health of a stream on a field trip organized by TVA’s Pickwick-Wheeler Watershed Team.

A “watershed” is an area of land that catches rain and snow and drains or seeps into a marsh, stream, river, lake, wells or groundwater. You are probably sitting in a watershed right now!

Watersheds come in all sizes—some are millions of square miles, while others are just a few acres. Valley creeks drain into rivers, and small rivers run into larger rivers. Altogether they make up the 41,000-square-mile Tennessee River watershed.

TVA knows how important it is to get people involved in keeping their own watersheds clean and healthy. This is why TVA created the TVA Watershed Teams. It’s the teams’ jobs to lead environmental work in the smaller river basins.

Each team helps its local community work on projects that protect and heal the watersheds they call home. For example, the Little Tennessee Watershed Team and the Fontana Lake Users Association cleared 600 tons of woody debris from a river channel. The wood was made into mulch or fort-like fish attractors called “lunker bunkers.”

The Holston-Cherokee-Douglas Watershed Team helped stop erosion on about 3,630 feet of shoreline at local parks. This helped the land, water and fish habitat.

A yearly event sponsored by Watershed Teams is the annual Smoky Mountain Resource Conservation and Development Council’s Envirothon competition. High schools students answer questions about wildlife, soil, wetlands and forests.