National Public Lands Day
When TVA Watershed Team members and local volunteers partner on a project to help the environment, the results are pretty impressive. One prime example is National Public Lands Day, held each September, which provides citizens with the opportunity to "Lend a Hand to America’s Lands." Across the Tennessee Valley, local volunteers and TVA Watershed Team members devoted 8,547 hours to cleanup efforts during the 2002 and 2003 events combined. And in those two days alone, approximately 48 metric tons (53 tons) of trash and debris were removed from public lands.
During the 2003 cleanup, the TVA Watershed Teams joined 38 federal, state, and local organizations to coordinate projects. The effort, which is the nation’s largest volunteer hands-on project, maintains the legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps. In the 1930s, this army of three million Americans countered the devastation of the Dust Bowl and the American chestnut blight by planting more than three billion trees, building 800 state parks, and fighting forest fires.
Today, in the seven-state TVA region, Watershed Teams coordinate a wide variety of projects to celebrate the day and promote environmental protection. Here’s a sampling of the 2003 National Public Lands Day events co-sponsored by TVA, as well as Watershed Team accomplishments in 2002:
• Hiwassee Watershed Team members joined 961 volunteers from 18 organizations in multiple cleanup projects that removed approximately 8.1 metric tons (20 tons) of trash from the watershed in North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee. In 2002, the team organized a cleanup on Hiawassee and Apalachia reservoirs during which 900 volunteers removed over 1,000 bags of trash from the waterways near Murphy, North Carolina.
• Wheeler Watershed Team members partnered with the Flint River Conservation Association and other local organizations to remove approximately 4.5 metric tons (five tons) of trash from areas along the Flint River near Huntsville, Alabama. The team also helped the Friends of Short Springs Natural Area and the Tennessee Trails Association improve the Short Springs Natural Area, near Tullahoma, Tennessee. In 2002, the team and 17 local volunteers removed 45 bags of trash and other debris that had accumulated along the Flint River shoreline.
• Upper Holston Watershed Team members joined 62 volunteers from four local organizations to remove approximately 2.7 metric tons (three tons) of trash from areas along the Doe River in Roan Mountain, Tennessee. In 2002, the team and 86 volunteers removed 133 bags of trash from trout waters along the Doe River.
• Guntersville Watershed Team members joined local volunteers to install gateposts, clear brush, and mark the trail at the Buck Island Hiking Trail in Guntersville, Alabama. In 2002, members teamed up with 51 volunteers from four local groups to remove approximately 200 bags of trash from the watershed.
• Pickwick Watershed Team members participated in litter cleanup, landscape improvement, and environmental education projects with 43 local volunteers on the Muscle Shoals Reservation in Alabama. In 2002, the team participated in a count of migrating birds on the reservation with volunteers from the Shoals Audubon Society.
• Cherokee-Douglas Watershed Team members and John Sevier Fossil Plant employees gave 35 local students a tour of the TVA plant, which is located near Rogersville, Tennessee, and conducted an environmental education program on stream ecology.
• Chickamauga-Nickajack Watershed Team members worked with Ducks Unlimited and local volunteers to improve a wood duck habitat near Decatur, Tennessee. Activities included maintaining wood duck boxes and recording nesting success.
• Melton Hill Watershed Team members partnered with 40 volunteers and two local organizations to remove exotic and invasive plants and litter from TVA’s Worthington Cemetery Cedar Barrens Ecological Study Area in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The team has participated in this project for several years.
Across the nation, the 2003 National Public Lands Day activities resulted in approximately $8 million of improvements to public lands at more than 500 locations. Nine federal agencies and hundreds of state and local partners supported the efforts of some 70,000 volunteers. The nine participating federal agencies are the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, Department of Defense, Environmental Protection Agency, National Park Service, USDA Forest Service, and TVA.
The next National Public Lands Day is September 18, 2004. To find out how you can get involved, visit the National Public Lands Day site.