The Environmental Journal of Southern Appalachia

Displaying items by tag: elan young journalist

peerys mill damPeery’s Mill Dam on the Little River is slated for removal by the Army Corps of Engineers for environmental and public safety reasons.  Elan Young/Hellbender Press

Army Corps still committed to Little River dam removal for ecological and safety reasons, but timeline uncertain 

TOWNSEND — The remainders of two low-head dams on the Little River in Blount County, Rockford Dam and Peery’s Mill Dam, are slated for removal by the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) following the release in July 2023 of a Project Report and Environmental Assessment that investigated the lower 32 miles of the Little River.

The Corps confirmed this week that plans are moving ahead to remove the two dams. 

Peery’s Mill Dam was the site of 4 separate drownings in the last 15 years, giving it the notorious reputation as the deadliest dam in Tennessee in the past quarter century. Late last month, three women had to be rescued from the churning waters there, prompting questions from the community about the status of the Corps’ removal effort. 

Little River Watershed Association president Andrew Gunnoe says that watershed advocates are eager for the dam removal project to move forward because doing so would provide both ecological and community benefits. 

Published in News
Tuesday, 30 May 2023 12:02

Will Little River run wild and free again?

PeerysMillPeery’s Mill Dam on the Little River could be dismantled following a federal survey of dams along the river. Andrew Gunnoe/Hellbender Press

Army Corps of Engineers studies Little River for potential dam removal

TOWNSEND — In February the Army Corps of Engineers announced a study to evaluate potential effects of proposed removal or modification of three dams on the Little River. These dams include the Townsend Dam, Peery’s Mill, and Rockford. The announcement sparked a public furor in Blount County over potential impact that dam removal might have on the Little River and adjoining communities. 

The results of the Army Corps’ study are not expected until June or July. Despite not knowing the study’s findings — which may include recommendations of full or partial removal of individual dams, or no action at all — the Blount County Commission unanimously passed a resolution in April calling for the preservation of all three dams. The resolution was sponsored by 14 of the 21 commissioners (it takes 11 votes to pass a resolution). 

Published in News

IMG 4916A group of farmers representing the Tennessee Chapter of the National Young Farmers Coalition gathers on the steps of the Tennessee capitol before lobbying representatives during Ag Day on the Hill.  Élan Young/Hellbender Press

Got sprawl? It’s past time to help young farmers access land

I’m not a farmer, I’m a hiker. I live in a shady mountain gap and can’t grow a fully ripe tomato in the summer — not to mention that the half-acre parcel of land that I call home includes a significant portion of river bed. But as a 20-year resident of rural Blount County, a gateway to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, I’ve watched the steady disappearance of farms over time, and I have wondered what can be done. 

This is why I rose at 4 a.m. for a trip to Nashville, planning to arrive before my alarm would normally sound. It will be my first time lobbying the state legislature and my first time meeting in person with the organizers of the Southeast Tennessee chapter of the National Young Farmers Coalition — known as “Young Farmers” — who I’ve been Zooming with for the better part of the year. We are all headed to Ag Day on the Hill to advocate for young and beginning farmers and the  preservation of farmland for future generations. 

Published in News