How Trees Help Our Water - Even Trees in Your Yard

Updated: May 10

Planting trees offers tree-mendous benefits for our water. Even when trees are planted in your backyard they help improve water for the community. Here are some of the benefits trees offer:

  • Improve the drinking water

  • Reduce flooding

  • Filter pollutants before they reach the water

  • Stabilize stream banks and help reduce erosion and sediment pollution

  • Shade the water keeping it cool

  • Provide countless benefits for aquatic ecosystem

  • Improve economic and recreational opportunities like fishing and kayaking

In Tennessee, we associate the Mississippi River with Memphis and the Western part of the state. Did you know nearly ALL of Tennessee is part of the Mississippi River watershed? A watershed is an area of land where water/precipitation collects and runs to a common source. In Tennessee, most of the the water from all our land, rivers, creeks, streams, and waterways eventually flows into the Mississippi River. You can learn more about watersheds in Tennessee here.

This means a tree planted in Tennessee, including in your yard, helps the Mississippi River. The River truly connects us. As a member of the Mississippi River Network, Green Interchange works for the well-being of the people, land, water, and wildlife of America’s largest watershed. We encourage our supporters to get involved as River Citizens - people who want to clean up and protect our country's greatest River and the surrounding watershed. Whether in armchairs or wading boots, River Citizens protect the River by speaking up on its behalf and caring for it in simple ways that make a big difference. Learn more and join.

River Days of Action - June 2022

In June 2022, Green Interchange is participating in Mississippi River Network's, River Days of Action. We'll pick up litter and remove invasive species on the banks of Garrison Creek. Litter has begun to collect along the approximately 1 mile section of stream we have previously restored. Also, invasive species including Bradford pears, honeysuckle, and privet have moved in. We plan to remove the invasive species and as much litter as possible. Learn more and sign up here.

Garrison Creek in Murfreesboro - Fall 2022

Green Interchange is working with Rutherford County and the Murfreesboro Stormwater Dept. to plant trees along Garrison Creek - a tributary of Bushman Creek this fall. We’ll restore the upper section of this heavily impacted stream by planting along approx. 1,781 feet of the creek bank with about 300 native trees and 1,000 live stakes (willow or other cuttings that will take root). We’ll also maintain about 100 trees in the lower section of Garrison Creek with mulch, pruning, and replacement as needed.

Work on Garrison Creek was originally started in 2012: Because of a lack of stream-like characteristics, Garrison Creek was managed as a ditch for years. The stream is listed on TN's polluted streams list (i.e. 303 d list). Partners including the Tennessee Environmental Council (TEC) teamed up to restore the LOWER portion of the creek in 2012. Green Interchange CEO John McFadden was CEO of TEC at that time.

Over the years, the partnership has targeted issues facing the lower section of the creek through: tree plantings, education and outreach, algae pulls, and clean-ups. Garrison Creek is slowly transitioning to a healthy stream with diverse habitat. This video shows the impressive 5-year progress. We're excited about the opportunity to achieve similar results on the UPPPER portion of the stream this fall.

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