Harpeth River Restoration Project - For nearly 50 years, a low-head dam located on the main stem of the Harpeth River in Franklin, Tenn., impounded water and restricted the movement of fish. The Harpeth River Restoration Project represents a major initiative in restoring and enhancing one of Tennessee’s increasingly valuable and scenic rivers. Selected as the sole demonstration project in Tennessee under the Great American Outdoors Rivers Initiative, this project illustrates how it is possible to restore the natural flow and ecology of a river system, while still allowing for drinking water withdrawals
Removal of the dam in July 2012 makes the Harpeth one of the few free-flowing rivers in Tennessee; improves habitat for key, rare species; improves water quality by reducing sediment and erosion; and enhances recreational access and safety. The project’s ecological significance cannot be overestimated as the Harpeth is one of a very unique system of southeastern rivers that together hold more biodiversity than anywhere else in the world.
The total cost of the City project was $870,000, with $350,000 in federal grants to the Harpeth River Watershed Association from collaborative funding programs of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership, and the National Fish Habitat Partnership for projects to improve fish habitat.
In June 2013, The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation awarded the project with a Governor's Environmental Stewardship Award.