Adopter Resources

Photo by Dakota Elliott

Photo by Dakota Elliott

Ensure your cleanup is a success!

  • Use this notification form to notify us of your cleanup at least 2.5 weeks before your cleanup.

  • Volunteers must sign a waiver before participating and groups must fill out a report when finished with a cleanup. These documents are included with your supplies. 

  • Review the Adopt-A-Stream Safety Guidelines with your volunteers before you begin your cleanup. 

  • Visit your waterway before your cleanup to ensure conditions are safe and that you are familiar with its access points.

  • Monitor the weather during the week before your cleanup, and reschedule if heavy rains are expected. 

  • Recycle if you can! ♻️ Contact for information about easy recycling at your event and local recycling drop offs near you.

  • Take pictures of your event so we can post them to the Adopt-A-Stream website, as well as our Facebook page. We will tag your group in the photos where possible.

Looking for other ways to help your stream?

In addition to the important work of stream cleanups, there are many other things you and your group can do for your waterway. On this page you’ll find some ideas and resources. If you’re scheduling a stewardship event with your group that isn’t a cleanup, make sure to let us know! You can get adoption credit for a variety of activities that promote water quality in your waterway.


Uncover Your Waterway’s Health and Share What You Learn With Others

Something you can do right from your computer is learn more about the health of your waterway using iCreek. iCreek will tell you if your waterway is healthy or unhealthy. If it’s unhealthy, it will explain why and provide you with things you can do to address its problems. In the Cumberland River Basin, the most common known pollutants in our streams are silt, pathogens, nutrients. In addition, all adopted segments (even those listed as “Healthy” in iCreek) are impacted by the litter you and your group are cleaning out. Scientists are only beginning to understand the impacts and extent of this problem in our region.

- Share iCreek on Facebook -

Get to Know the Plant and Animal Species that Depend on Your Waterway

We live within one of the most biodiverse regions on earth, yet very few people know this or know the species that live here. Let’s change that! Using iNaturalist you and your group can observe and learn the names of plants and animals species in and along your waterway. You can even organize your very own “Bioblitz” during your next cleanup or visit to your creek to find out what species depend on clean water in your stream for survival. Tens of thousands of iNaturalist observations have been made in the Cumberland River Basin and over 5,000 species have been identified. Below are the latest Cumberland River Basin observations!

simply Visit

There’s a lot of value in simply visiting you waterway in person. Whether you’re walking, paddling, or even having a nearby picnic, you'll gain a better appreciation of your waterway and its health if you take time to get to know it :) Our example stream survey guidelines can provide you with a sense of health indicators to look for. Our recreation maps can help you figure out where there are greenways, paddle access, or outfitters available for helping you get out and on your waterway.

Own the Land Adjacent to Your Adopted Waterway?
Plant (or Allow for) NaTive Flora Along its Banks

Photo by Jordan Meeter

Photo by Jordan Meeter

Allowing a 35′ to 100′ no mow zone on a streams banks can filter pollutants before they reach our waterways and provide other water quality benefits that far exceed those of a mowed lawn. If you can't do a planting, consider distributing free tree seedlings in your adopted segment's watershed. Resources include:


Remember: Always ensure you have landowner permission before doing any stewardship work on public or private land.

Report sewer leakages and other water quality concerns. 

If you see something, say something! You can report water quality concerns to your local stormwater department (Metro Nashville), the TN Department of Environment and Conservation, or the US EPA. Suspected harmful algal blooms can be reported to the TN Department of Health here.

Support Public funding for Water quality

Public funding for stormwater programs, sewer infrastructure, and water treatment plants are often difficult to acquire, but critical to water quality and public health. Support your community's efforts to institute stormwater fees and properly maintain water related infrastructure. Learn more:

Organize with others in your community. Make your voices heard and your votes count

Participate in community planning efforts and advocate for relevant measures that improve or protect water quality. Find out who your elected officials are and write to them or to the media. Let them know this is a concern or invite them to speak about the impairment with your home-owners association. When elections come up, vote for candidates who will address the problem and hold them accountable to their promises.