About the Middle Tennessee River Valley
The Middle Tennessee (Middle TN) River Valley Watershed Area encompasses portions of Limestone, Marshall, Cullman, Morgan, Madison, Lawrence, Lauderdale, and Jackson Counties in the northern part of Alabama. The boundary of the Middle TN River Valley Watershed encompasses one of the largest agricultural producing regions in the State. Not only are beef, dairy cattle, and poultry a large part of the production present, but row-crop agriculture is also a dominant source of income for the area. Crops irrigated within these counties include soybean, cotton, corn, and specialty crops.
Watershed Plan – Environmental Assessment Process and Status
A Watershed Plan – Environmental Assessment (Plan-EA) was developed for the Middle Tennessee River Valley to fulfill requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and to be considered for authorization of Public Law 83-566 (PL-566) funding for irrigation expansion within the basin. The Irrigation Watershed Planning Project (IWP) benefits rural communities by reducing damages to crops, improving soil health, and protecting basin water quality through sustainable irrigation expansion while minimizing impacts to the environment and cultural resources
The Plan-EA will be used by the Alabama Soil and Water Conservation Committee (SWCC) to identify farms eligible to receive cost-share funds for irrigation infrastructure.
On October 23, 2018, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and project partners held a farmer scoping meeting to identify farmer needs in the Middle TN Watershed area. Comments received during this meeting were documented and aided in the development of the Draft Watershed Plan-EA.
A Preliminary Investigation and Feasibility Report were prepared by the technical team from Auburn University and the University of Alabama in Huntsville.
A Draft Watershed Plan-EA was posted for review, and a public meeting was held on January 22, 2019 to receive comments and questions.
After several months of planning and incorporating public and agency input, NRCS and the project technical team have concluded the project will not cause significant local, regional, or national impacts on the environment. The Final Plan-EA for the Middle Tennessee River Valley is available below.