High Definition Stream Survey of the Harpeth River, TN

The 125 mile long Harpeth River flows northwest around the southern and western portions of the greater Nashville metropolitan area in Middle Tennessee. Much of the Harpeth River’s watershed is rural, but the area is experiencing rapid growth in suburban development especially in the area around Franklin, TN. Partially due to the area’s rapid growth, sections of Harpeth River have been listed as impaired on the State’s 303(d) list with stormwater runoff, non-point source pollution, sanitary wastewater, and water withdrawals all contributing to its water quality problems. To better understand the location and extent of the issues within the Harpeth River, the High Definition Stream Survey (HDSS) method was used in March of 2016 to record important river channel information. The primary objective of the survey was to collect high-resolution, geo-referenced longitudinal and cross-sectional surveys on 77.8 miles of the main channel of the Harpeth River. The survey began at the Trinity Road bridge (upstream of Hwy 65) and continued downstream past the Narrows of the Harpeth area. Averaging about 16 miles per day, we gathered 22 hours of video, sonar and other data for each second during the survey resulting in over 75,000 lines of data representing the river channel conditions. The information was used to determine habitat type (pool, riffle, run), water depth, and left and right bank condition for the full extent of the survey length. In all, 82 cross-sectional transects were surveyed in the Harpeth River and at the mouth of some of its major tributaries. For the longitudinal surveys, the multiple video concurrent streams were processed and assembled into a single video to provide a “first person” point-of-view of the entire survey path. From the HDSS results, we delineated 471 distinct habitat type units for the survey area. Runs were the most frequent habitat type, followed by pools and riffles. In terms of their overall length, the pool habitat type occupied most of the river length and riffles were a very small portion. As expected, pools were deeper on average than runs and riffles, and we did not see any difference between bank conditions scores associated with habitat types. We observed that much of the Harpeth River has incised stream banks and the potential for streambank erosion is moderate to high throughout large sections of the river. Encroaching development from both agriculture and housing developments restricts the riparian zone in many areas. Some of the specific issues discussed included the impacts of powerlines, log jams, livestock, and point-source runoff. The High Definition Stream Survey (HDSS) approach proved to be a rapid method to collect a wide range of useful information about the Harpeth River. The resulting data will be highly useful for a range of river management issues. The cross-section transect information is useful to help better understand the quantity of water available at different discharges, while the longitudinal information can be used to support targeted restoration and habitat improvement projects. Along with the report, the field data and results from the Harpeth River HDSS project were provided in digital format.

Duck River, Tennessee: A Collaboration

The Duck River is the most biologically diverse river in the United States and is also the source of drinking water for 250,000 people in Middle Tennessee. In recent years, Trutta has completed 155 miles of High Definition Stream Survey (HDSS). Completing this would have been impossible if not for the partnerships. We have partnered with a group of collaborators from various organizations (Duck River Agency, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), Columbia Power and Water Systems (CPWS), South Central Tennessee Development District (SCTDD), Tennessee State Parks, Stantec, O’Brien & Gere, and InfloDesign). These surveys collected a huge amount of valuable data to assist managers in making good decisions to achieve their goals, while keeping the Duck River healthy. Flow Modeling Our work began below Normandy Dam with TDEC. They were interested in cross-sections data for TMDL flow modeling at one-mile increments. The Cities of Lewisburg and Columbia each funded additional high-density cross-sections in their respective reservoirs for both drinking water and wastewater purposes. Drinking Water Since then, that data has been used by Columbia Power and Water to estimate current reservoir capacities for various water needs including drought planning. Engineering firms, such as O’Brien and Gere, Stantec, and InfloDesign have used the data for monitoring current drinking water intakes, as well as siting new drinking water intakes in collaboration with different municipalities and the Duck River Agency. River Corridor Data While collecting bathymetric data throughout the years, we also ran the HDSS system to collect longitudinal river corridor data. Every mile of river has StreamView video, depth data, and side scan sonar imagery that can be used for numerous different water resource management purposes. MS4 stormwater permitting, streambank restoration prioritization, and habitat suitability modeling are just some of the ways that this data could be used today. With the surveys already completed, this data can be made available to you at a reduced cost. Other Uses for HDSS Data Trutta has also been in discussions with Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency (TWRA) to help determine habitat for endangered mussel species, with the National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) about suitable locations for streambank plantings, and Tennessee State Parks about using the video for information and education.

High-Definition Stream Survey of the Falling Water River, TN

Due in part to the growth of the area, sections of Falling Water River have been listed as impaired on the State’s 303(d) list with stormwater runoff, non-point source pollution, sanitary wastewater, and water withdrawals all contributing to its water quality problems. Effectively managing water resource issues associated with the Falling Water River requires high quality data of the current conditions in river corridor. This primary goal of this project, funded by Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), was to collect state-of-the-art, high-resolution, geo-referenced longitudinal and cross-sectional surveys on 23 miles the main channel of the Falling Water River, 5 miles of Pigeon Roost Creek and 2.6 miles of Hudgens Creek to enable efficient characterization of stream channel conditions and provide geomorphic data for modeling purposes. We accomplished this goal by completing four main objectives: collecting high-resolution, geo-referenced longitudinal and cross-sectional surveys on the main channel of Falling Water River, Pigeon Roost Creek and Hudgens Creek to document baseline river bank and instream conditions during June/July 2016, producing stream-view HDSS video, classifying habitat and bank condition and creating a database of collected information, analyzing data by creating aquatic habitat GIS layers for depth, habitat type (pool, riffle, run), and left and right bank condition scores, and making assessments and identifying other potential applications of the HDSS results to support river management. The HDSS project resulted in over 65,000 lines of data covering the survey area. We collected 28 cross-sectional transects to support water management modeling applications. From the longitudinal survey, we assessed the left and right bank condition as a metric of the potential for shoreline erosion. In general, approximately 15% of the stream banks of the Falling Water River were in good or optimal condition. Conversely approximately 26% were in the poor or very poor categories. Most of the Falling Water River system was in average condition. From a distribution perspective, it appears that Hudgens Creek is in poorest overall condition and the upper and lower segments of Falling Water River are in the best condition. We also observed issues associated with losing water reaches, log jams, and livestock management. The High Definition Stream Survey (HDSS) approach proved to be a successful method to rapidly collect a wide range of useful information about the Falling Water River and the HDSS video of the river system will allow decision makers and other parties to see high-definition video of the streambank conditions of the entire survey area from June/July 2016 and have the high resolution classified data to make specific comparisons for different projects.

High Definition Stream Survey for Physical Habitat and Water Quality of the Harpeth River, TN

A High Definition Stream Survey was conducted on a 50-mile stretch of the Harpeth River, collecting physical habitat and water quality data in August and September 2022. Parameters included depth, water surface elevation, temperature, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, pH, and more. The survey aimed to support the creation of a QUAL2K model for assessing water quality requirements for a proposed wastewater treatment facility in Franklin, TN. The focus was on data collection to inform the water quality model and support the water treatment facility permit.

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