Emory River Watershed Association

Elizabeth Benton speaks on Options for Treating Hemlock woolly adelgid

On Tuesday, March 5th, Mrs. Elizabeth Benton from the University of Tennessee Entomology and Plant Pathology Department made a guest appearance to an ERWA meeting to speak about Options for Treating Hemlock trees for the hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA). Mrs. Benton spoke on the effects of imidacloprid on aquatic macroinvertebrates, honey bees and the hemlock woolly adelgid. You can find out more about Benton and her research at her website: http://www.elizabethpbenton.com/ 

or you can check her out on Facebook.


TVA Ash Spill Tour
On Thursday, June 2, 2011, ten members of ERWA and Tennessee Citizens for Wilderness Planning toured the Kingston TVA Steamplant's recovery efforts stemming from the December 22, 2008 ash spill.  Our group watched videos explaining how the accident happened and learned about the environmental monitoring programs that are ongoing at the site, including air and water quality, bird, reptile and amphibian studies, and groundwater monitoring.

Families in the Creek
For several years the Emory River Watershed Association has sponsored Kids in the Creek as an event to teach children about creek ecology.  This year the event was open to adults as well.  Held on Clifty Creek near Harriman, aquatic biologists from TVA helped kids collect benthic macroinvertebrates (creek bugs) and shocked fish for close-up examination. Teacher-Ranger-Teachers from the Obed Wild and Scenic River used an Envrioscape to teach kids about how run-off enters streams and lakes, foresters from the Tennessee Division of Forestry taught kids that trees are a renewable resource.

Farm Bureau Outdoor Day
We had a wonderful time at the Farm Bureau Outdoor Day in Solomon Park on October 6th. We set up a small watershed display of how everything we do here and now will have an affect on us in the future and downstream. Morgan County 4th Graders are a bright and enthusiastic bunch of students. We hope to work more with Morgan County schools in the near future!

Crooked Fork Watershed Tour
On September 18th more than 40 people came out to learn about the Crooked Fork Watershed.  A sub-watershed of the Emory, Crooked Fork has poor water quality due to leaking and failing septic tanks, acid mine drainage, agricultural run-off, and erosion caused by channelization.  Participants saw examples of problems and success stories and learned how they could receive cost share grants to improve their own property. 

2nd Annual Potters Falls Clean-Up & Save the Hemlocks Day

On Saturday, May 2nd, 2015, ERWA teamed up with the National Park Service, TVA, Tennessee Citizens for Wilderness Planning, Tennessee Division of Forestry, and community locals to treat hemlock trees and to clean up the Potters Falls area alongside the beautiful Crooked Fork Creek. The cleanup included a workshop for local landowners to learn how to protect hemlock trees from the deadly Hemlock Woolly Adelgid. Participants and volunteers learned how to safely mix and apply an insecticide used to treat their hemlock trees for this pest.

National River Cleanup Day 2011
On May 21st, 2011, over 40 volunteers met at the Obed Wild and Scenic River's Visitor Center in Wartburg, Tennessee, to participate in an annual river clean-up day.  Organizations represented include the Emory River Watershed Association, Tennessee Citizens for Wilderness Planning, East Tennessee Whitewater Club, and Oak Ridge High School.  When the clean-up was over, volunteers returned to the Visitor Center for an appreciation lunch.

Interested?  Learn more about National River Cleanup.

Kids in the Creek 2011
On Friday, May 13th, the Emory River Watershed Association held its annual Kids in the Creek program at Frozen Head State Park.  More than 50 science students from Oakdale and Central High turned out to have fun and learn about the environment.

Representatives from the Morgan County Soil Conservation District, Tennessee Citizens for Wilderness Planning (TCWP), the Morgan County Extension Office, the Obed Wild and Scenic River, Frozen Head and TVA were on hand to lead the students through activities and present information.

2016 Annual Meeting

The Annual Meeting held on Tuesday, January 5th was a great success! Marta Monroe of the Morgan County Tourism Alliance discussed the Mountain Laurel Festival event kickoff to be held on Saturday, May 21st. Don Barger of the National Parks Conservation Association spoke on the North Cumberlands Wildlife Management Area Lands Unsuitable for Mining Petition DEIS. Nearly 35 members of the public joined us for an evening of talks, wonderful music by local band Emory River Thunder, and delicious food. We look forward to our 2017 meeting!

ERWA strives to provide fun and educational experiences. Below are descriptions of events ERWA has organized.  Co-sponsors of the events below include the Morgan County Soil Conservation District, Tennessee Valley Authority, the University of Tennessee's Morgan County Extension Office, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture's Division of Forestry, and Tennessee Citizens for Wilderness Planning. For more information about our partner organizations, go to the Resources page.

3rd Annual Potters Falls Clean-Up & Save-the-Hemlocks Day

On Saturday, April 9th 2016, we had another wildly successful litter clean up and hemlock treatment day. Twenty volunteers consisting of community members, National Park Service, and TN Division of Forestry came together at Potters Falls in Wartburg, TN to gather  1,600 pounds of litter and recyclables and to treat 81 beautiful hemlock trees against the hemlock woolly adelgid. The litter clean-up was funded by a Tennessee Valley Authority grant and the hemlock tree treatment was made possible by the National Park Service, TN Division of Forestry and ERWA. We would like to extend a very large thank to the efforts and participation of all involved parties. We look forward to another successful Annual Potters Falls Clean-Up & Save-the-Hemlocks Day next year!

“Ethical behavior is doing the right thing when no one else is watching-even when doing the wrong thing is legal."
--Aldo Leopold

Buffalo Mountain Windmill Tour
On June 19th, 2010, ERWA members joined members of TCWP, the Cumberland Trail Conference, the Morgan County Soil Conservation District and students from programs such as Morgan County's 21st Century Students, Workforce Network, and Summer School to tour the windfarm at Buffalo Mountain outside of Oliver Springs.  We learned about wind power and enjoyed the beautiful views!

Hornyhead Branch Restoration
From 2001 through 2006, ERWA partnered with The University of Tennessee's Forest Resources Research and Education Center, the Tennessee Department of of Agriculture, the Morgan County Soil Conservation District,  the Tennessee Valley Authority and the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service to restore Hornyhead Branch, a tributary to Crooked Fork Creek in the Joyner community.  For more information on this project, click

Laymance Falls Cleanup
On a snowy Saturday in November, ERWA members gathered at Laymance Falls to pick up trash.  We collected almost two truck-loads of garbage including building materials, a TV, and a multitude of cans, bottles, and cups.

Flat Fork Creek Restoration
In 2008 and 2009, ERWA assisted the Tennessee Stream Mitigation Program in a large-scale restoration of Flat Fork Creek throughout the channelized section of stream adjacent to the Morgan County Correctional Complex.  The project returned the stream to its original contours as mapped in the 1976 USGS guadrangle maps.  For more information on this project, including "After" pictures, please see the TSMP website's
Flat Fork page.