case studies

West Tennessee River Basin Authority:
Recharge Research



Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, West Tennessee River Basin Authority


Recharge Research

CAESER is assisting the West Tennessee River Basin Authority in assessing the impact of stream restoration projects in West Tennessee. The goal is to determine the ecological benefits of stream restoration and the heightened potential for groundwater recharge through storm water retention.

Our initial pilot study is along an urban stream in Jackson, Tennessee, where deep gully erosion is threatening the structural stability of adjacent houses and a nearby road. We installed soil moisture instrumentation (i.e., lysimeter, tensiometer, and neutron probe access), stream gage monitoring equipment, and a weather station. We visit the site to collect data and survey the streams on a monthly basis. From 2017-2019, we were monitoring for changes in soil moisture and stream channel geometry before the stream restoration construction began. Now we are in the post-stream restoration phase of the data collection.

The West Tennessee River Basin Authority’s collaboration with CAESER on aquifer recharge in restored gully fields has contributed to a more refined approach to urban storm water management, water quality improvement and flood risk reduction.

– David Salyers, Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation

CAESER will continue to monitor the site throughout 2021 to quantify how stream restoration alters in-stream flows, soil moisture, and recharge to the aquifer. Studies such as this help to inform construction methods, and stream redesign throughout West Tennessee where the geology is very different from the rest of the State of Tennessee. These projects can assist in the long-term sustainability of our regional groundwater resources.