Roaring River Chapter

The Roaring River Chapter draws members from Putnam, Jackson, and Overton counties on the Highland Rim of the Cumberland Plateau.  We focus on improving quality of life in order to make safer, healthier, and more sustainable communities.  

Most meetings have a guest speaker or other program on a local or state environmental issue, with a variety of topics covered.

We have focused on modern, environmentally friendly systems for handling stormwater and reducing runoff and flooding, how to evaluate the claims that more roads are needed, how the state legislature works, the impacts of reducing TennCare, the problems of voting suppression, the local effects of climate change and ways to reduce its impacts, how the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation permitting processes work, how citizens can contest permits that would allow our wetlands and waterways to be polluted and destroyed, and how to affect TDOT’s Long Range Plans.

In 2007 and 2008, we stopped a four-lane, divided by-pass around Cookeville that TDOT found was wasteful and unnecessary and that actually threatened to reduce trade at local businesses.  We joined in a fight to stop a sand quarry north of Monterey on Highway 62. We worked with Monterey residents on sewer overflows and repair of the city storm and sanitary sewer system, a project that continues to this day.  One of our members, an attorney, led a successful challenge to an attempt to expand the Putnam-White airport by filling a wetland. We have joined others in asking the Cookeville City Council to hire a full time urban forester and to create a greenway along Pigeon Roost Creek.  We fought a plan that would have filled a sinkhole and cave opening to make room for a new consumer electronics store.  We also opposed a plan that would have filled important slope wetlands to make a pad for still another restaurant on Interstate Drive. Recent projects include a Rain Barrel Festival with proceeds to be used for water protection education at Dogwood Park. The chapter has advocated before the City Council for them to join ICLEI, Local Governments for Sustainability, and did a City Green House Gases Emission Inventory as the baseline for a city climate change plan that would put the Recovery Act funds to their most effective use.

We are currently engaged in monitoring an Interstate Drive Retail Development along Wetland Connected to Pigeon Roost Creek.

In 2014, we became a support chapter and meet as the need arises. Our meetings are held at the Unitarian-Universalist meeting room at 31 West First Street.

For more information on the Chapter, email our East Tennessee Organizer, Adam Hughes, at or call 865.249.7488.

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