Nashville, TN Recognizing the Importance of the Cumberland River

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Nashville, TN, US

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Type: Resolution

Status: Adopted on 7/1/08

Source File:


A resolution recognizing the importance of the Cumberland River and declaring objectives toward restoring, preserving and protecting its health and vitality.

WHEREAS, the Cumberland River is of enormous significance to the history and viability of Nashville, Tennessee as an abundant water source and navigable waterway; and

WHEREAS, the Cumberland River serves as the front door to the city, provides the vast majority of potable water for its citizens, and serves as a crucial component to the regional landscape and natural appeal; and

WHEREAS, the city of Nashville may never have been established if not for the location and bountiful resources provided by the Cumberland River to the founders of this city; and

WHEREAS, the Cumberland River was originally cherished and respected by the founders of Nashville, as well as by the native American peoples who preceded them; and

WHEREAS, in subsequent years, the citizens of Nashville neglected the Cumberland River, using the waterway as a septic system, depositing various toxins from adjoining industrial development, and degrading its banks and floodways; and

WHEREAS, this history of neglect resulted in the pollution of the Cumberland River, requiring ever-higher treatment measures to ensure a healthy potable water supply, and resulting in multiple violations of Environmental Protection Act regulations; and

WHEREAS, in recent years, the Cumberland River has begun a gradual but inexorable rebirth; the water quality has improved drastically; buffer zones have been enhanced through establishment of greenways and other eco-friendly projects adjacent to the river; the once ubiquitous wildlife has begun to return; and a large portion of the river has been removed from EPA violator status; and

WHEREAS, it is fitting and proper that the Metropolitan Council along with the city of Nashville vow never to repeat the neglect of the past and commit its efforts henceforth to restore, preserve and protect the Cumberland River.


Section 1. The Metropolitan Council hereby goes on record as committing to restore, preserve, and protect the Cumberland River for its citizens and for future generations.

Section 2. In recognition of this bold new direction, the Metropolitan Council hereby expresses its support toward the following goals:

(a) Commit the community will, professional expertise, and necessary funds to achieve and remain in full EPA compliance for water quality standards and community health henceforth;
(b) Limit commercial / industrial development within one hundred feet (100’) of the river, with no disturbance within sixty feet (60’) feet of the top of bank, and prohibit storage of toxic materials within any 50-year floodplain;
(c) Restore natural habitats and riverside buffer zones; and work to create and recreate green infrastructure in order to reduce excess storm water flows, erosion, combined sewer overflows, urban heat island effect, and energy use;
(d) Actively encourage and promote the development of a vibrant urban waterfront, and creating expanded parks, trails, water recreation, and environmental restoration, keeping the river and it banks beautiful, accessible, enjoyable and productive;
(e) Prioritize redevelopment of current industrial and blighted sites along the river thereby providing for and directing development opportunities to an already existing urban infrastructure, and thereby reducing sprawl, maintaining rural landscapes and open space, and reducing lengthy commutes, traffic and pollution.
(f) Create a new standard for urban forestry through the planting of new trees and the protection of existing trees to alleviate storm water pressures, reduce energy usage across the community, remove ozone and other pollution from the air, and enhance the economic vitality and overall quality of life in Nashville, Tennessee.

Section 3. This Resolution shall take effect from and after its adoption, the welfare of The Metropolitan Government of Nashville & Davidson County requiring it.