To conserve natural resources and improve rural economies through community leadership and enhanced educational opportunities.
The Appalachian RC&D was organized in 1993 and registered as a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization by the IRS in 1994. The Council serves the six Northeast Tennessee Counties of Carter, Greene, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi and Washington. The Council is made up of representatives of each County Government, local Soil Conservation District and an At-Large Members for a total of 22 members from each county.
Goals: Goal A: Provide Public Services and Facilities to Meet the Needs of our Citizens and Improve Quality of Life Goal B: Provide Leadership and Management Expertise for the Sustainability of our Regions Natural Resources. Goal C: Encourage Development that Sustains Natural Resources. Projects: The Appalachian RC&D Council has been involved in a variety of projects since its inception. Following is a summary of a few of the past projects and some that are currently underway.
Regional Household Hazardous Waste Collection: Since 1994 the Council has facilitated the collection of over 1,000,000 pounds of potentially toxic chemicals from approximately 17,000 homes in the region through these annual events.
Conservation Camp: Since 1995 nearly 10,000 4 th graders in Carter, Johnson & Unicoi Counties have attended the Council sponsored day camp. Approximately 90% of all residents in these counties ages 10 - 16 have spent a day at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area learning about their natural environment.
Disaster Response - Flood Assistance: In 1998 & 2001 major floods hit Carter & Greene Counties respectively. In response to this tragic event the Council contacted and hosted four Disaster Relief Teams from the AmeriCorps National Community Service Program. These teams provided over 7000 hours in relief time moving rocks & debris, clearing brush, sorting donated items, cleaning out mud and other rehab efforts.
Some of our past and present projects
Quilt Trail: A Rural Public Art Project celebrating the treasured craft of traditional quilt making and the icon of the barn. We are placing hand painted traditional quilt square patterns on barns across the regions countryside. We see opportunities to promote heritage and agriculture tourism through this will celebrating our rural heritage. Partners include the Harris Fund for Washington County - East TN Foundation, TN Arts Commission, Netherland Inn Exchange Place Association and the First Frontier Quilters. See the project at www.QuiltTrail.org.
Regional Greenways Plan: Via a partnership with the National Park Service - Rivers Trails & Conservation Assistance Program and the Southern Appalachian Greenway Alliance - SAGA the Council is finalizing a Regional Greenways Plan for 11 counties in NE Tennessee and SW Virginia. This process involves multiple countless public forums with local County, City and Planning Commissions.
Upper Tennessee River Watershed Initiative: We are focusing efforts and resources to raise awareness and improve water quality in the Holston and Watagua River basins. Using funds from EPA, USFS & others we will provide coordinated assistance to local Watershed Alliances, Stormwater BMP demonstrations, educational programs and permanent protection of riparian zones along targeted streams. Our Watershed Coordinator starts work in March
Farmland and Open Space Protection: This project is in response to requests from landowners interested in perpetual protection of their land in recent years. We are partnering with the Land Trust for Tennessee to establish a regional initiative called the Lands of Boone and Crockett. The Land Trust will be able to hold conservation easements on property that can guarantee that it will remain in its rural or natural state.
Our Focus Areas: 1) Farmland & Natural Land Protection 2) Greenway & Riparian Corridor Protection 3) To Facilitate Sustainable Residential, Commercial Development
Locally Made Products Promotion: The Appalachian RC&D Council has made a commitment to purchase locally manufactured, processed and grown items whenever possible in order to support our regional economy. In carrying this forward we have learned how difficult it is to find the local product. A website, www.LocalGoods.org, currently promotes over 150 local businesses, farmers & artisans in order to support local workers, businesses and tax structures.
The Appalachian RC&D Council has received funding from the following sources in the past year. East Tennessee Foundation, TN Arts Commission, Massengill-DeFriece Foundation, National Forest Foundation, USDA Forest Service, TN Division of Forestry, EPA, Tennessee Valley Authority. Funds have also been received from contributions from businesses and individuals.
Partners & Volunteers
Every project and initiative that the Council is involved is successful only because of the dedication of countless volunteers, local, federal & state agencies, corporate donors and private foundations and others to numerous too mention. Locally led partnerships backed by people and organizations with a passion for making things happen.