Cumberland and Tennessee River Watersheds

The Cumberland and Tennessee River Watersheds

Protecting the Cumberland and Tennessee River and the tributaries.

The Tennessee River watershed encompasses the Tennessee River and its tributaries, including the two headwater tributaries: the Holston River and French Broad River. The main stem of the Tennessee River begins near Knoxville at the convergence of the headwaters.  The Cumberland River flows into the Tennessee River via a channel near the Land Between the Lakes.

Tennessee Riverkeeper protects the main stem of the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers and the tributaries that drain into them.

What Is A Watershed?

A watershed is all the land area that drains into a particular body of water, such as a creek, fork, river, swamp, wetland, lake, bay, estuary, gulf, or ocean. A watershed includes not only the streams and rivers that convey the water but also all the land that drains into them. Watersheds for different rivers are separated by major geologic features such as ridges or mountains. Other names for a watershed are drainage area, drainage basin, and river basin.

No matter where you are, you are in a watershed, so be a good steward and don’t spill or dump toxic materials and trash on the ground. When it rains pollutants on the ground are washed into groundwater which may be connected to surface water, or they flow directly into nearby surface waters. Be a good neighbor – we all live downstream!

Streams represent constant rebirth. The water flows in, forever new, yet forever the same; they complete a journey from beginning to end, and then they embark on the journey again.
– Tim Palmer

Map of the Cumberland and Tennessee River Watersheds

Tennessee Riverkeeper’s patrol jurisdiction

Map of the Tennessee River Watershed


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