• Share on Facebook
  • Share on Twitter
  • Share via Email
Patience Needed: City Improving Water Quality, One Small Project at a Time 
Removing an old concrete dam has created habitat along a 100-foot-long section of a tributary to Second Creek.

It's officially a tributary that flows into Second Creek. 

But a long-abandoned concrete dam trickled the flow of water. And because water washed around the side and bottom of the dam, which resulted in erosion of the creek banks, the supposed stream to more a muddy ditch than anything else.

This spring and summer, the City contracted with Ziggurat Development to remove the dam, repair the erosion damage and free up the stream, just off 4100 Central Avenue Pike in Northwest Knoxville, a stone's throw from Interstate 640.

The $142,217 project was selected, in part, because the stream and dam are located on City-owned right of way. It didn't require coordinating with a private property owner or paying for an easement.

At first glance, fixing a 100-foot-long section of a small tributary might not seem significant. But to Chris Howley, the City's Stormwater Chief, it's a starting point.

"Improving water quality in Second Creek doesn't occur overnight," he said. "It might take two or three projects like this to show improvements. 

"Siltation is our biggest issue by volume. It took decades of development, runoff and installing pipes in our waterways for them to get to the condition they're in. Restoring them requires time and patience."

With the dam removed, water was again flowing along this section of tributary during the rainy end of July.

Howley envisions a functional ecosystem forming here, and when the stream is full following rainfalls, small fish will swim upstream and explore the new habitat.

"It's a slow process to undo damage to a creek," he said. "But this project will encourage fish to migrate. They won't get trapped by the old dam."

A healthier ecosystem has been created along a 100-foot-long section of a tributary to Second Creek.

Here's what the tributary to Second Creek now looks like, after a concrete bottleneck dam was removed.
Posted by evreeland On 06 August, 2020 at 9:38 AM