Murfree Spring Wetlands
A favorite spot for nature photographers and birdwatchers, Murfree Spring Wetlands is a 25-acre city park located at the corner of Maney and Broad streets. Paved walking trails and raised boardwalks wind through the wetlands, and the Discovery Center, a
Education & Learning
Murfree Spring Wetlands teaches young and old alike about the role water plays in our everyday lives. Designed around the old water treatment plant on the site and targeted towards a child’s curiosity and sense of whimsy, the railings, fountains, and paving patterns capture the industrial and mechanical look of the equipment in the old plant and the fluid characteristics of water in the environment. Several pieces of old pump equipment were salvaged from the water treatment plant and refurbished as environmental sculptures in the plaza.
Opportunities for learning abound: Silhouettes of popular wetland flora and fauna form interactive interpretive signage along the boardwalks. The History Wall depicts a timeline of the area from prehistoric to current happenings on the site. Stepping-stones through a pond-like water feature demonstrate an aquatic food chain.
Wild About Wetlands
Wetlands are among the most productive ecosystems in the world, comparable to rain forests and coral reefs. The restoration and preservation of this irreplaceable resource in Murfreesboro serves not only local wildlife, but also teaches our citizens to love, appreciate, and protect wetlands everywhere.
Citizen Science Helps!
By recording your plant and animal sightings using smartphone nature apps, you'll help us document the species that live in or visit Murfree Spring Wetlands so that we can better manage the wetlands. If you don't know the name of a plant or critter you see, you can often identify it - and learn about it - using these apps. Some apps also allow you to track what you and others see in an area. Two reputable, popular, and free apps that have this feature are iNaturalist and eBird. If you have another favorite nature app, let us know. We'll check it out!
Seen at Murfree Spring Wetlands
Male Wood Ducks - Photo ©John Padgett
A storm brews over Murfree Spring Wetlands. Photo by Lauren May
Sunning Turtles by Joshua J. Cotten
Raccoon Kits - Photo ©John Padgett
Yellow-crowned Night-heron - Photo ©John Padgett
Eastern tiger swallowtail by Joshua J. Cotten
Mallards on a log. Photo by Lauren May
River Otter - Photo ©John Padgett
Cedar Waxwing - Photo ©John Padgett
Young Muskrat - Photo ©John Padgett
Frog on a log by Jared Evans
Red-shouldered Hawk - Photo ©John Padgett
Canada Goose - Photo ©John Padgett
Mallard Duck - Photo by Lauren May
Beaver Kit - Photo ©John Padgett
Goslings on Boardwalk - Photo ©John Padgett
Murfree Spring Wetlands Protection and Restoration Projects
From installing trash-catchers to removing exotic invasive plants and reestablishing native vegetation that better supports our local wildlife, the Outdoor Murfreesboro Natural Resources Team is continually working to improve habitat quality, aesthetic appeal, educational value, and ecosystem function of Murfree Spring Wetlands.
Wetlands serve to capture surface water runoff, slowing it down so more water seeps in to recharge the aquifer and filtering out nutrient-rich sediments. These days, this runoff also carries in litter from the surrounding urban area, negatively impacting the wetlands ecologically and aesthetically. Outdoor Murfreesboro Natural Resources and Murfreesboro Water Resources built and installed two prototype floating trash-catchers at Murfree Spring to collect and remove litter before it reaches the wetland.
Diverted runoff water from the surrounding area has increased the water level in the wetland as the city has grown. This, combined with beaver activity, has killed many trees that couldn't adapt to the higher water levels. As replacements, and to combat the invasive aquatic plant, parrot feather, the city has planted young trees of species that thrive in standing water.
Shoreline Habitat Restoration
Like many natural areas, non-native invasive plants grow aggressively at Murfree Springs Wetlands, choking out the native plants that better support our native wildlife. Outdoor Murfreesboro is removing invasive plants in parts of the natural area and replacing them with native plants, many of which we are growing through our Murfreesboro Indigenous Plant Project (MIPP)
Murfree Spring and Sand Spring, also part of Murfree Spring Wetland, have undergone many changes since the founding of Murfreesboro in 1817. The site has held a water treatment plant, an ice house, and a Coca Cola bottling plant. It’s been used for water for town and for the railroad and as a swimming hole. The bluff at Sand Spring was quarried out and the rock was used for the foundations of the city’s early buildings. Finally, the site was acquired by Murfreesboro in 2000 and is now a protected wetland. Read more