Restoring Friar Branch

Witness an extreme stream makeover, as some forward-thinking people implement a modern approach to stream returning to the past.

From building dams…to digging drainage ditches and straightening streams…people have long worked to control the water that flows on our planet. That certainly is the case here in Tennessee, where 20 percent of our streams are impounded. Many, especially in West Tennessee, have been channelized and over half the state’s wetlands have been lost. Water control projects always seem like a good idea at the time. But many have unintended results that harm wildlife…and people. Wild Side Guide Ken Tucker takes us to Friar Branch in Chattanooga, home of the endangered Chickamauga Crayfish, where some forward-thinking people are implementing a modern approach to stream management…by returning to the past.

The Tennessee Stream Mitigation Program has restored more than 51 miles of degraded streams and helped to protect nearly a thousand acres of critical riparian habitat, primarily through conservation easements secured by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Foundation. You can learn more about the program and the work it’s doing across the state by visiting their website,

Future plans for Friar Branch include building a greenway along part of the stream along with a viewing platform, so that school groups can visit to learn more about stream ecology and how people and nature can co-exist.

From show 2812

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