In May 2010, because 14 inches of rain fell in a two-day period, Nashville experienced a historic flood that brought devastation to the city’s infrastructure and environment. Additionally, the powerful rains had flooded the city’s rivers, streams, and creeks collecting and carrying materials downstream. Debris blocked and buried in the waterways was dangerous for the environment and to its citizens due to the potential for erosion and water damage.
Together with the mayor, the chief service officer outlined high-impact volunteer initiatives in the Impact Nashville Service Plan, including planting trees and rain gardens in flood-affected areas to help absorb and manage stormwater and to put in place a stronger natural absorption system for future rain events.
Since 2010, HandsOn Nashville, the Cumberland River Compact, and other local conservation organizations have planted 15,994 trees and 320 rain gardens across the city, mitigating well over 12.8 million gallons of stormwater. In addition, thousands of volunteers are working to restore Nashville’s vast number of waterways. To date, volunteers have assessed more than 200 miles of waterways and cleaned 31 miles of waterways, removing nearly 300 tons of trash and debris. Nashville citizens will continue to implement preventative measures in efforts to create a more resilient and healthy infrastructure for its citizens and the planet.