The Natural Resource Division has been working slowly over the past few years to restore natural areas on City property that have been degraded, consumed by invasive plant species, and are notoriously prone to pollution. While working at nature’s pace means working in one area over multiple seasons, the effort is well worth the result: A healthy, diverse, natural system resilient to climate change, pollution, and other human and natural disturbances.
- Old Fort Park Pollinator Plot
- Spring Branch Riparian Restoration
- Murfree Spring Wetland Restoration
- Sinking Creek Wetlands
In 2018, an active member of the local Quail Forever chapter and board member of the Water Resources Department approached MPRD about installing a native pollinator plot in one of the unused open areas on City property. The Natural Resource team took up the task. Two growing seasons of site preparation concluded in the winter of 2020-2021. Native grass and herbaceous wildflower seeds were sown in December, 2020. This project was made possible by the City of Murfreesboro’s Parks & Recreation Department, Quail Forever, Rutherford County C.R.O.P., and the TN Wildlife Resources Agency. Native seed is purchased from Roundstone Native Seed Co, providing regionally appropriate seed.
Spring Branch, a small spring and creek that runs through the middle of Old Fort Park, has historically been a quality-impaired stream. In about 2010, Murfreesboro’s Water Resources Department worked with Murfreesboro Parks and Recreation (MPRD) to change the management strategy of the riparian zone surrounding the creek. Since then, the simple practice of leaving an un-mowed 20-foot vegetative buffer along either side of the creek improved the water quality dramatically. The Natural Resource team has developed plans to improve upon this original work by developing an approximately 7-acre restored Oak Open Woodland/Savanna system around the riparian zone, remove the invasive species that have overtaken the riparian zone and install native riparian species appropriate for our region.
Murfree Springs Wetlands is home to many animals and plants and is utilized by photographers and visitors to the Discovery Center. Because of its highly urbanized surroundings and history of repeat disturbance dating back to the 1800’s, this area has become increasingly stressed with invasive species and pollution. The Natural Resource team, together with MPRD Maintenance, Water Resources, and the Murfreesboro Street Department, has put together a plan to slowly restore the water garden and wetland banks to a native natural system. While this will take many years of consistent invasive removal, follow up, repeated installation of native species, and repeated removal of litter and other debris that flows in from the surrounding paved areas, we have already begun the process. With our partners, we hope to create an aesthetically pleasing and resilient native natural system.
Sinking Creek Wetlands at Oaklands Park is another one of our natural areas that has seen the impact of urbanization. The creek itself is an impaired stream that is inundated with heavy silt deposits and pollution inflow from the surrounding developed area. Together with students from Middle Tennessee State University and our partners at Stones River Battlefield, Garden Lover's Club, scouts, and the Water Resources Stormwater staff, the slow and consistent removal of invasive privet, wintercreeper, and other invasive plants has opened up the understory of the wooded areas. We are now seeing the return of common native wildflowers and native saplings.
This is another project that will take many years and many hands, but the results are already forthcoming.
|Outdoor Murfreesboro Natural Resources Division|
Working towards sustainable management of Murfreesboro natural areas
|Murfreesboro's Natural Areas|
Areas managed by Outdoor Murfreesboro's Natural Resource Division for ecosystem integrity and function and public access to nature.
|Central Basin Geology and Ecology|
Where we live: The Central Basin
|Conservation in Action|
Working together with individuals and groups that have a shared passion for our natural world