The Little Tennessee River Basin
by Trenton Francisco and Nadia Lischke
A sunset over the Tennessee River.
The section of the Little Tennessee River Basin that is in North Carolina.
The Little Tennessee River Basin in North Carolina.
The Little Tennessee River Basin's main river is called the Little Tennessee River. The Little Tennessee River begins at the Emory Dam in Georgia and joins the Ohio River as a tributary. The river basin contains 2,501 miles of rivers and streams and has a population of 94,566.
What is the Little Tennessee River Basin like?
There are a lot of interesting land marks in the Little Tennessee River Basin since it's so big. A couple of them include the Emory Dam, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest, the National Forest Scenic Byway and the Bridal Veil Falls.
Just because the Little Tennessee River Basin has all of these picturesque settings doesn't mean there isn't some sort of pollution. An example of a non-point source pollution is habitat degradation. Habitat degradation is when a space is not suitable for organisms to live in (see picture). So what happens is that when rain or wind comes, it picks up the dry brittle land and takes to the river, polluting it. Another example of a non-point source pollution is soil from farms and roads. The contaminated water eventually ends up in a river or stream. An example of point source pollution is mercury from factories and different kinds of industrial plants nearby. Another point source pollution is metals from abandoned mining sites. The contaminated water eventually ends up in a river or stream in all of these cases. They may be different pollutants, but they are all the same when it comes to how damaging and dangerous they are.
Is there a solution?
A solution for the non-point source pollution is something that organizations are already doing, and it seems to be working. They are taking the rare organisms and moving them to a kind of reservoir to keep a closer eye on them to try and stop the pollution. A solution for the point source pollution may sound a little bit impossible. But, we could maybe create some sort of chemical that cleans the water from all of the mercury, but at the same time not hurting the animals. A way to fix the problem with metal and abandoned mining sites is to just clean them up!