With the recent flooding in Nashville and its surrounding areas, Outdoor Life revisited an article from last year regarding the importance of river health (see below). Outdoor Life’s Project Save-a-Stream will be closely following the clean-up efforts and waterway restoration in the area. Until then, please support the clean-up efforts and tune-in to Music City Keep on Playin’ – A Benefit for Flood Relief will air on GAC Television, Live from the Ryman Auditorium Sunday, May 16, 8:00 – 11:00 p.m. Eastern. Brad Paisley, Lady Antebellum, Dierks Bentley, Rodney Atkins, Keith Urban, Martina McBride and more. Click here for more info.

River Health Begins in Headwaters
OL’s Save-A-Stream seeks new projects

Recent headlines read like the symptoms of an especially sick patient: Swollen, flooded rivers. Parched, withered landscapes. Streams reduced to trickles. Reservoirs either overflowing or diminished to warm, stagnant puddles.

The nation’s web of water is in trouble. In many places the problem is a lack of runoff, either because of climate change or because humans have altered the landscape’s ability to recharge aquifers and drain watersheds. In other places, rivers can’t handle the rate and volume of runoff and come out of their banks, sometimes with spectacular results.


There’s little we can do about the most catastrophic flooding and drought, but researchers say the maintenance of healthy watersheds can mitigate the effects of both. Floods aren’t as severe in rivers with healthy headwaters and droughts aren’t as prolonged.

In fact, the environmental health of large areas of land begins with its small streams, says Bill Schumacher, a leading advocate for stream health at Ohio’s Division of Surface Water.

“Primary headwater streams are like the capillary system of a blood supply network,” he says. “Just as the health of the whole organism depends upon a functioning capillary system, the health of larger streams and rivers depends upon an intact primary headwater stream network.”

Through Project Save-A-Stream and its sponsors, Outdoor Life is committed to returning America’s headwaters to health. In its third year, Save-A-Stream helps improve the health of the nation’s waterways by connecting streamside residents with a network of information, contacts and resources that can get them started caring for neighborhood creeks, brooks, branches and rivers.

We invite you to join Project Save-A-Stream. Becoming a participant is easy. Just log on to and follow links to enroll your stream in the program. The deadline for submissions is June 20th, 2010. We’ll send participants a packet of useful tools and information, including garbage bags and gloves to help with trash collection, water monitoring equipment and a number of resources, including The Streamkeepers’ Manual, a comprehensive guide to stream health.

Eligible projects can include simple community stream clean-up events, Adopt-a-Stream campaigns, larger assessments of water quality or even projects to stabilize stream banks or address pollution or water rights. We welcome angling groups, community organizations, churches and individuals.

Caring for America’s streams is a big job, but even the most ambitious projects start with just a handful of people with a common passion to improve their communities. After all, the lifeblood of a community is its water, and by caring for its headwaters you’ll be benefiting a much larger watershed.