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TNWRRC News Archive

03/2017—TNWRRC and Director Thanos Papanicolaou lead a Stream Restoration Symposium in Nashville on March 3, 2017 with 41 attendees. The agenda for the Symposium is HERE.

12/2016—Read the December 2016 Media Advisory issued by the US Department of the Interior on Water Conservation and Management Priorities and Accomplishments.

10/2016—TNWRRC affiliate faculty and professor, Tennessee Tech University’s Alfred Kalyanapu, has utilized sonar technology to map the bed bathymetry of the Obion river. The field survey included students from Tennessee Tech and it was one full field day. The Tennessee Tech team works with Forbes Walker and TNWRRC director, Thanos Papanicolaou, to address water availability issues as part of a USDA funded research. This research is led by UT extension, and UTIA is a central part. Here are links to the videos made using Sonar. The first one is a trailer of a recent class trip. The second on is a class project where Hydrology students used Sonar for City Lake, and the third link is a collage of our recent class trip.

09/2016—Dr. Bruce Tschantz, TNWRRC Senior Researcher, was recently honored in Philadelphia at the national ASDSO dam safety conference with a National Merit Award for his life-long contributions to dam safety. Bruce has led efforts to improve US dam safety since the 1970's, following the failure of the Teton Dam, when he was asked by President Carter to coordinate development of federal dam safety guidelines.

05/2016—Take a look at the many Spring 2016 outreach activities facilitated by TNWRRC.

04/2016—Read about the activities sponsored by TNWRRC volunteers at this year's 17th Annual EarthFest celebration.

01/2016—TNWRRC facilitated installation of a pervious concrete sidewalk in the Halls Outdoor Classroom to benefit handicapped students. [more]

12/2015—TNWRRC Researcher Roy Arthur recently won an award from the Tennessee Recreation and Parks Association for his work on the Harrell Road Stormwater Demonstration Park located in northwest Knox County. The Harrell Road Park, set to open in late spring 2016, has been a collaborative effort between the Legacy Parks Foundation, Knox County Stormwater, Knox County Parks and Recreation, and the WRRC. This project, featuring rain gardens, stormwater ponds, pervious pavement, stormwater diversions, native vegetation, and interpretive signage, is designed to inform and educate citizens as they enjoy a 19-acre passive nature park with three-quarter miles of soft trails. Read more here.

10/2015—Ruth Anne Hanahan, TNWRRC Research Associate, and Tim Phelps, Forestry Communications & Outreach Unit Leader of TDA Division of Forestry, introduced the new Tennessee Urban Riparian Buffer Handbook: A Practical Guide to Establishing Healthy Streamside Buffers at the Tennessee Stormwater Association Annual Conference at Fall Creek Falls State Park on October 20, 2015. Their presentation also included a discussion of the six-year, USDA Forest Service grant-funded Urban Riparian Buffer Program. TNWRRC staff worked with TDA Division of Forestry staff Tim Phelps and Reggie Reeves in the development of this Handbook. It provides practical step-by-step guidance to anyone wishing to organize volunteer-based riparian buffer tree planting projects. It covers many important details and considerations necessary to have a successful project, and includes a comprehensive recommended riparian buffer plant list organized by east, middle and west Tennessee. Also included are examples of handout materials that can be used to engage the public as well as potential landowners in such projects. It is available on the Tennessee Division of Forestry website. There is an article on the Handbook in the TNSA Fall Newsletter and in the WEF Stormwater Report.

09/2015—Dr. Terry Hazen, Director of the Institute for a Secure and Sustainable Environment (ISSE), announced the appointment, effective September 1, 2015, of Dr. Thanos Papanicolaou as Director of the Tennessee Water Resources Research Center (TNWRRC). Dr. Papanicolaou is Professor and Henry Goodrich Chair of Excellence in UT’s Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering and also serves as Chief Editor of the Journal of Hydraulic Engineering, ASCE. “Dr. Papanicolaou’s appointment will serve to enhance ISSE’s and TNWRRC’s mission as a Center of Excellence here at UT,” said Dr. Hazen. “We are so pleased to have him aboard.”

09/2015—4th Annual Watershed Symposium, held September 15, 2015, was a huge success!! Read about it here.

05/2015—West High Students Partner with UT on Environmental Study—A UT study on how trees affect water runoff in urban areas is fully under way, thanks in part to students at West High School in Knoxville. The concept—Storm Water Goes Green: Investigating the Benefit and Health of Urban Trees in Green Infrastructure Installations—was initiated with $200,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forestry Service.The West High students teamed with several UT departments, including the Tennessee Water Resources Research Center. UT’s Institute for a Secure and Sustainable Environment played a crucial role in the project, helping bring together various aspects of the university and community that might not otherwise be partnered, such as the College of Engineering and the Institute of Agriculture.

03/2015—The Tennessee Water Resources Research Center was recently featured in Impact: a weekly newsletter from the Office of Community Engagement & Research. Read "Making a Difference: Tennessee Water Resources Research Center."

01/2015—TNWRRC's Dr. Bruce Tschantz was invited to Washington, D.C. by Homeland Security and FEMA to present a historical perspective on the development of the 1979 Federal Guidelines for Dam Safety to the Joint Meeting of the Interagency Committee on Dam Safety (ICODS) and the National Dam Safety Review Board (NDSRB) held January 21, 2015. Tschantz, who coordinated federal and nonfederal dam safety policy and program efforts for the Carter Administration from 1977-80 following the 1976 failure of Teton Dam, challenged the federal agencies to consider several contemporary dam safety issues, including hydrofracturing effects, cyber terrorism/hacking, public safety around dams, coal combustion residual (CCR) impoundments, and risk-informed decision making (RIDM), as the Joint Committee begins to update the Guidelines that President Carter, in October 1979, directed 22 federal agencies to adopt and implement.

11/2014—TNWRRC Senior Researcher Dr. Bruce Tschantz made November 20 presentation at the 29th Annual Civil Engineering Professional Development Seminar (CEPDS) at Purdue University, in West Lafayette, Indiana. The Seminar is sponsored by Purdue, ASCE, the Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP), and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. It will offer tracks on Bridges, Geotechnical, Transportation and Water Resources. Dr. Tschantz presented an afternoon Water Resources track session on the Hazards and Public Safety at Low Head (in-channel) Dams, with discussion on mitigation measures and strategies for reducing public hazard. The State of Indiana is concerned about public safety hazards at its dams and is looking at different engineering and legislative strategies for addressing this issue following several recent fatalities around its approximately 100 low-head dams. Dr. Tschantz has, over the last 25 years, researched, published several articles, consulted on, and made several national presentations on his research of this nation-wide issue.

05/2014—Bruce Tschantz (Senior Research Associate) was invited to Johnstown, Pennsylvania on May 31, 2014, to give a keynote talk to help commemorate the 125th anniversary of the 1889 Great Johnstown Flood disaster and to celebrate Dam Safety Awareness Day as a reminder to dam owners and operators of their responsibility to keep their dams safe. The weekend event, hosted by the Johnstown Area Historical Association (JAHA), and co-sponsored by FEMA, the National Park Service, and the Association of State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO), featured Dr. Tschantz and three other speakers from FEMA and ASDSO. Dr. Tschantz discussed four key dam failures: the Buffalo Creek Coal Mine Waste dam in West Virginia (1972), Teton Dam in Idaho (1976), Laurel Run Dam in Johnstown, PA (1977), and Kelly Barnes Dam in Toccoa Falls, Georgia (1977). He discussed how these failures eventually led to the establishment of several major federal and state inspection and regulatory program initiatives, which he coordinated in the 1970s and 1980s, to help make most of the approximately 87,000 existing federal and non-federal dams safer today. The talks were webcast live-streamed by FEMA and ASDSO. Dr. Tschantz was a consultant to the Executive Office of the President during the Carter Administration from 1977-79, and then took a one-year leave from the UT Civil & Environmental Engineering Department, following the development of Federal Guidelines for Dam Safety issued by President Carter in late 1979, to became the first Chief of Federal Dam Safety. Dr. Tschantz also helped to organize the ASDSO, an organization that today represents over 3200 state, local, and federal governments; federal dam safety professionals, dam owners and operators, engineering consultants; academia, contractors, and others interested in improving dam safety.

05/2014—Two UT Knoxville professors are recipients of Tennessee Healthy Watershed Initiative (THWI) Funding. Dr. Jon Hathaway, UT Civil and Environmental Engineering, will receive $113,000 for “Regenerative Stormwater Conveyances: An Innovative Watershed Management Tool for Tennessee,” and Dr. Andrea Ludwig, UT Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science, will receive $90,000 for “Enhancing Widespread Water Quantity and Quality Control through Implementation and Dissemination of the Tennessee Runoff Reduction Assessment Tool (RRAT) to Assist in the Design and Evaluation of Runoff Reduction Low Impact Development (LID) Practices.” The Tennessee Healthy Watershed Initiative (THWI ) is a collaboration of federal, state and nonprofit organizations committed to maintaining and improving water resources in Tennessee watersheds. 

04/2014—The US EPA recognized seven university teams for environmental solutions and one of the teams is from the University of Tennessee. UT won for its project on exploring ways to use green oak or “heart centers,” the low-quality part of hardwood logs, in US building construction. Read the full story.

08/2013—Rainwater Resources partnered with Halls High School as the first Knox County School approved for a rainwater harvesting system! WRRC's Roy Arthur was instrumental in making this project happen. 

01/2013—An article in the January 9, 2013 issue of the Knoxville News-Sentinel, "Creative Solutions Remedy Beaver Creek Erosion Problems," mentions the Tennessee Water Resources Center and Researcher Roy Arthur.

11/2012—Dr. Bruce Tschantz presented a national webinar November 2013, on "Identifying Hazards and Improving Public Safety at Low Head Dams," sponsored by the Association of State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO). The webinar focused on the overall danger that low-head dams present to the public, the hydraulic basis of the danger, and alternative design modifications to improve or eliminate the public hazard. Mr. Paul Schweiger, PE and Vice President of Gannett Fleming, Camp Hill, PA, was a webinar co-presenter.

10/2012—Dr. Bruce Tschantz, UT Professor Emeritus and Senior Research Engineer at ISSE's Tennessee Water Resources Research Center (TN-WRRC)  presented the Tennessee Stormwater Management Assistance, Research, and Training (SMART) Center program to the 4th Annual Tennessee Mining Association (TMA) Conference held in Gatlinburg on October 29, 2012. Dr. Tschantz discussed the status of the SMART program and its efforts to increase the knowledge base through research, training, and public assistance among engineers, landscape architects, state and local regulating officials, policy makers and planners, developers and contractors, and product vendors for managing stormwater, preventing erosion, and controlling sediment releases for all types of land disturbance activities such as urban construction and mining. SMART is a consortium formed by the UT Institute of Agriculture's Forest Resources Research & Education Center (FRREC), UT Department of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science (BESS), UT's Institute for a Secure & Sustainable Environment (ISSE), and ISSE's TN-WRRC, in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC). The planned SMART research and training center will be constructed on part of a UT-owned, 100-acre site located on Union Valley Road, east of the UT Arboretum Center, near Melton Hill Drive in Oak Ridge.

10/2012—Dr. Bruce Tschantz presented a talk on October 22, 2012 to the Knoxville Technical Society titled, "How Fast Can You Swim? The Low-down on Low-Head Dams." He discussed the public safety hazards to kayakers, canoers, swimmers, and other water recreationalists caused by these types of "drowning machine" dams and the structural and non-structural measures that can be taken by owners to reduce or eliminate their danger. Dr. Tschantz has published several articles and given many talks on this topic to various technical and other groups around the country.

09/2012—Dr. Bruce Tschantz made a presentation titled “Temporary Sediment Basins to Permanent Stormwater Detention Ponds – Regulation and Conversion Factors” at the Annual meeting of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Tennessee Society of Professional Engineers, and American Council of Engineering Companies of Tennessee (ASCE-TSPE-ACEC) annual meeting September, 13-14, 2012 in Murfreesboro, TN. Dr. Tschantz's slide presentation was co-authored by Tim Gangaware, Associate Director, ISSE/TN-WRRC, and Kirk Brode, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), Chattanooga office.

09/2012—Stormwater Manager Jason Scott and the Town of Farragut won the AmeriCorps Photo Contest for this year! Jason will use the prize money ($2,000) towards an on-the-ground water quality project in Farragut. What a whimsical and entertaining was to promote water quality!

09/2012—Ruth Anne Hanahan, TNWRRC senior research associate won the staff environmental leadership award for her role in providing opportunities for UT and community members to gain meaningful, real-life experience in understanding, enhancing, and protecting the environment.