La Vergne revegetation project seeks to naturally strengthen local streambeds

By KATE COIL
TML Communications Specialist

Residents and officials with the city of La Verge are coming together for a project aimed at curbing erosion and improving water quality on properties bordering local rivers, streams, and creeks.
Alex Thompson, stormwater coordinator for the city of La Vergne, said the goal of the city’s revegetation project is to provide various plants that property owners can use to shore up the banks of waterways on their property.
“We have a lot of streams in the city of La Vergne, and we work to protect them as much as we can,” Thompson said. “We have some sedimentation in the water. This project is something we can do to help with prevent erosion. By preventing erosion, we are helping the water quality and also helps the homeowners. We decided if we had a budget for it and this was a service we could provide, then why not do it.”
When sediment and pollutants build up in waterways, Thompson said the city’s stormwater department feels the impact.
“Sinking Creek, Finch Branch, Hurricane Creek, and the East Branch of Hurricane Creek are the big waterways, but we also have several unnamed tributaries in the area,” she said. “They are all connected and dump into the Cumberland River, which is also Percy Priest Lake. They are also all connected to the city’s stormwater system, which is part of the reason we are doing this program. Stormwater from the streets and houses goes into these waterways, so anything we can filter out ahead of time is great. Stream vegetation has a ton of benefits like erosion control, water quality control, and flood control. Every five feet of erosion control you do gives more benefits.”
Additionally, the project will also benefit homeowners in a variety of ways.
“We want homeowners to prevent the loss of land for them,” Thompson said. “This project also brings nature to your yard. It brings more birds and butterflies with the flowering plants. It is a facelift for a yard as well. Some of these trees, understory trees and shrubs, and grasses will look nice in any yard along a streamside. We have had a decent amount of interest so far. We are hoping that as interest builds, we can continue the project. As time goes on, different areas erode so different landowners are going to be affected.”
Property owners can participate in the project by filling out a form online at the city’s stormwater web page. Once the form is filled out, Thompson said a stormwater official will come to their property and do a consultation to see what can be done to prevent erosion.
“We look to see if they need to move invasive vegetation or secure the stream beds,” she said. “We also get measurements on what sort of erosion control matting we can put underneath to provide the right materials for them. In March we will be distributing the plants and matting so the ground will be softer and better for planting.”
Thompson said plants will be given to residents including trees, understory trees and shrubs, grasses, and other native plants. The diverse types of plants will create a streamside ecosystem that will better prevent sediment erosion into the water. The city will also provide matting similar to what is used by the city during construction and to line ditches. The matting will help the plants stay in place until their root systems are strong enough to do so.
While the city will be providing guidance on pre-planting and providing plants for residents, the property owners themselves must conduct do the actual planting. Thompson said she hopes the planting date in March can be a citywide event for residents to participate in the project together.
“I am so excited about this program,” she said. “This project will not only benefit the residents who participate but also all the wild animals in the area that need places to live.”