In a move that could impact the future re-invention of the former Tennessee State Fairgrounds, Mayor Karl Dean announced Wednesday that Metro will receive assistance from statewide nonprofit Tennessee Stream Mitigation Program in restoring Brown’s Creek.
Brown’s Creek runs the length of the fairgrounds property in south Nashville. Its restoration, a price tag for which was not released, will coincide with plans to add a park and greenway on the 40 acres of fairgrounds land that is located in a flood plain.
A polluted waterway, Brown’s Creek flows into the Cumberland River, the main source of drinking water in Davidson County.
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Foundation administers TSMP, which has restored nearly 35 miles of streams and more than 400 acres of natural habitat.
“We learned from the May flood the important role that creeks and streams play in developed areas,” Dean said in a release. “Brown’s Creek has been greatly impaired by the asphalt parking lots that surround it throughout the fairgrounds site. TSMP will bring resources and expertise that we wouldn’t otherwise have in helping us restore this important waterway. At the same time, we’ll be creating a park and greenway that the south Nashville neighborhood greatly needs.”
Brown’s Creek is listed on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 303(d) list of impaired streams for failure to meet state water quality standards. Pollutants found in the creek include nitrates and nitrites, phosphorus, oil and grease, and E. coli.
The creek’s restoration will improve the water quality and aquatic habitat by addressing the “urbanized watershed” and limited natural buffer, according to Joey Woodard, TSMP director.
“A successful urban stream restoration project must include a watershed-based approach,” Woodard said, adding the agency plans to work with Metro Water Services, the Metro Parks Department, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, the Tennessee Department of Transportation and Cumberland River Compact to improve Brown’s Creek.