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How Can I Help?

waterdrop1 How can you help Chattanooga's watersheds?



 One of the first things you can do to help is to gain a better understanding of our watersheds. One of the most enjoyable ways to gain this understanding is to interact with them. Chattanooga is full of wonderful greenways and blueways where the public can enjoy nature. Get out and explore our watersheds for a better understanding of how they work, and the problems they face.


At Home: 

Many common household activities can have effects on our environment that we may not consider. Try using these best management practices to help our water quality.
  • Do not dispose of cleaners, paint, oils, grease, or other chemicals down the drain, into your yard, or into a storm drain.
  • If washing your car at home, do so on the grass so that suds don't end up in a storm drain. The same goes for pressure washing; don't wash the debris into the street. The wash water can contain oils, nutrients, phosphates, metals and organic matter. All of which can throw off the natural balance of the ecosystem if they are washed into a storm drain. 
  • If mowing the lawn or raking leaves, do not dispose of trimmings or leaves in the street or storm drain. Use a compost pile or put them in the trash. The city also offers a pick up service for debris. 
  • Recycle! There are multiple recycling centers around Chattanooga, as well as a curbside recycling service.


Start with your backyard:

Native plants are the naturally occurring species indigenous to the region. However, most traditional gardening uses flowers and plants that are not indigenous. Tennessee's natural flora can be quite beautiful, and if you are looking for a garden with little maintenance then they are a good choice!

According to the EPA, some of the benefits of using native species are:

  • It improves the environment

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  • They are meant to live in the conditions that are naturally occurring, so they don't need much outside attention
  • They do not need pesticides or herbicides
  • They do not need extra watering
  • They can attract beneficial and aesthetically pleasing creatures such as certain bird species and butterflies
  • The increase in predators such as birds can decrease pest insects



Interested in landscaping with native plants?

  •  This pdf is courtesy of the Tennessee Exotic Pest Plant Council

Interested in a list of Tennessee's native plants?

  •  This list is courtesy of the University of Texas at Austin and the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center

Thinking of purchasing native plants? 

  • Trailhead Nursery is located on Signal Mountain, TN and offers a multitude of native plant species.


 Report Illicit discharge

Illicit discharge is the dumping of anything that is not rainwater into a municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4).

Here are some examples of common illicit discharges. They can be trash, sewer overflow or seepage, sediment, or any other substance that ends up in our water ways. 


If you see any of these things or suspect an illicit discharge, please call 311.


There are also plenty of other things to do in your watershed

Enjoy the area!  Look at these greenways for hiking and blueways for water activities.









Serve people with integrity and improve the infrastructure and environment through excellence.

Justin Holland, Administrator
1250 Market Street
Chattanooga TN 37402 (map)
(423) 643-6311  


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