Tennessee River
Overview
 
The Tennessee River is the largest tributary
Tributary
A tributary or affluent is a stream or river that flows into a main stem river or a lake. A tributary does not flow directly into a sea or ocean...

 of the Ohio River
Ohio River
The Ohio River is the largest tributary, by volume, of the Mississippi River. At the confluence, the Ohio is even bigger than the Mississippi and, thus, is hydrologically the main stream of the whole river system, including the Allegheny River further upstream...

. It is approximately 652 miles (1049 km) long and is located in the southeastern United States
Southern United States
The Southern United States—commonly referred to as the American South, Dixie, or simply the South—constitutes a large distinctive area in the southeastern and south-central United States...

 in the Tennessee Valley
Tennessee Valley
The Tennessee Valley is the drainage basin of the Tennessee River and is largely within the U.S. state of Tennessee. It stretches from southwest Kentucky to northwest Georgia and from northeast Mississippi to the mountains of Virginia and North Carolina...

. The river was once popularly known as the Cherokee
Cherokee
The Cherokee are a Native American people historically settled in the Southeastern United States . Linguistically, they are part of the Iroquoian language family...

 River, among other names. Its name is derived from the Cherokee village name Tanasi
Tanasi
Tanasi is a historic Overhill Cherokee village site in Monroe County, Tennessee, in the southeastern United States. The village is best known as the namesake for the state of Tennessee...

.
The Tennessee River is formed at the confluence of the Holston
Holston River
The Holston River is a major river system of southwestern Virginia and east Tennessee. The three major forks of the Holston rise in southwestern Virginia and have their confluence near Kingsport, Tennessee. The North Fork flows southwest from Sharon Springs in Bland County, Virginia...

 and French Broad River
French Broad River
The French Broad River flows from near the village of Rosman in Transylvania County, North Carolina, into the state of Tennessee. Its confluence with the Holston River at Knoxville is the beginning of the Tennessee River....

s on the east side of Knoxville, Tennessee
Knoxville, Tennessee
Founded in 1786, Knoxville is the third-largest city in the U.S. state of Tennessee, U.S.A., behind Memphis and Nashville, and is the county seat of Knox County. It is the largest city in East Tennessee, and the second-largest city in the Appalachia region...

. From Knoxville, it flows southwest through East Tennessee
East Tennessee
East Tennessee is a name given to approximately the eastern third of the U.S. state of Tennessee, one of the three Grand Divisions of Tennessee defined in state law. East Tennessee consists of 33 counties, 30 located within the Eastern Time Zone and three counties in the Central Time Zone, namely...

 toward Chattanooga
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Chattanooga is the fourth-largest city in the US state of Tennessee , with a population of 169,887. It is the seat of Hamilton County...

 before crossing into Alabama
Alabama
Alabama is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama ranks 30th in total land area and ranks second in the size of its inland...

.
Encyclopedia
The Tennessee River is the largest tributary
Tributary
A tributary or affluent is a stream or river that flows into a main stem river or a lake. A tributary does not flow directly into a sea or ocean...

 of the Ohio River
Ohio River
The Ohio River is the largest tributary, by volume, of the Mississippi River. At the confluence, the Ohio is even bigger than the Mississippi and, thus, is hydrologically the main stream of the whole river system, including the Allegheny River further upstream...

. It is approximately 652 miles (1049 km) long and is located in the southeastern United States
Southern United States
The Southern United States—commonly referred to as the American South, Dixie, or simply the South—constitutes a large distinctive area in the southeastern and south-central United States...

 in the Tennessee Valley
Tennessee Valley
The Tennessee Valley is the drainage basin of the Tennessee River and is largely within the U.S. state of Tennessee. It stretches from southwest Kentucky to northwest Georgia and from northeast Mississippi to the mountains of Virginia and North Carolina...

. The river was once popularly known as the Cherokee
Cherokee
The Cherokee are a Native American people historically settled in the Southeastern United States . Linguistically, they are part of the Iroquoian language family...

 River, among other names. Its name is derived from the Cherokee village name Tanasi
Tanasi
Tanasi is a historic Overhill Cherokee village site in Monroe County, Tennessee, in the southeastern United States. The village is best known as the namesake for the state of Tennessee...

.

Course

The Tennessee River is formed at the confluence of the Holston
Holston River
The Holston River is a major river system of southwestern Virginia and east Tennessee. The three major forks of the Holston rise in southwestern Virginia and have their confluence near Kingsport, Tennessee. The North Fork flows southwest from Sharon Springs in Bland County, Virginia...

 and French Broad River
French Broad River
The French Broad River flows from near the village of Rosman in Transylvania County, North Carolina, into the state of Tennessee. Its confluence with the Holston River at Knoxville is the beginning of the Tennessee River....

s on the east side of Knoxville, Tennessee
Knoxville, Tennessee
Founded in 1786, Knoxville is the third-largest city in the U.S. state of Tennessee, U.S.A., behind Memphis and Nashville, and is the county seat of Knox County. It is the largest city in East Tennessee, and the second-largest city in the Appalachia region...

. From Knoxville, it flows southwest through East Tennessee
East Tennessee
East Tennessee is a name given to approximately the eastern third of the U.S. state of Tennessee, one of the three Grand Divisions of Tennessee defined in state law. East Tennessee consists of 33 counties, 30 located within the Eastern Time Zone and three counties in the Central Time Zone, namely...

 toward Chattanooga
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Chattanooga is the fourth-largest city in the US state of Tennessee , with a population of 169,887. It is the seat of Hamilton County...

 before crossing into Alabama
Alabama
Alabama is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama ranks 30th in total land area and ranks second in the size of its inland...

. It loops through northern Alabama
North Alabama
North Alabama is a region of the U.S. state of Alabama, generally considered to include 12 counties: Cherokee, Colbert, DeKalb, Franklin, Jackson, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone, Madison, Marshall, Morgan, and Winston, with a combined population of 958,247, or 20.84% of the state's population as...

 and eventually forms a small part of the state's border with Mississippi
Mississippi
Mississippi is a U.S. state located in the Southern United States. Jackson is the state capital and largest city. The name of the state derives from the Mississippi River, which flows along its western boundary, whose name comes from the Ojibwe word misi-ziibi...

, before returning to Tennessee
Tennessee
Tennessee is a U.S. state located in the Southeastern United States. It has a population of 6,346,105, making it the nation's 17th-largest state by population, and covers , making it the 36th-largest by total land area...

. At this point, it defines the boundary between Tennessee's other two Grand Divisions: Middle
Middle Tennessee
Middle Tennessee is a distinct portion of the state of Tennessee, delineated according to state law as the 41 counties in the Middle Grand Division of Tennessee....

 and West Tennessee
West Tennessee
West Tennessee is one of the three Grand Divisions of the State of Tennessee. Of the three, it is the one that is most sharply defined geographically. Its boundaries are the Mississippi River on the west and the Tennessee River on the east...

.
The Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway
Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway
The Tennessee–Tombigbee Waterway is a 234-mile man-made, artificial waterway that extends from the Tennessee River to the junction of the Black Warrior-Tombigbee River system near Demopolis, Alabama, United States. The Tenneessee-Tombigbee Waterway links commercial navigation from the nation’s...

, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project providing navigation on the Tombigbee River
Tombigbee River
The Tombigbee River is a tributary of the Mobile River, approximately 200 mi long, in the U.S. states of Mississippi and Alabama. It is one of two major rivers, along with the Alabama River, that unite to form the short Mobile River before it empties into Mobile Bay on the Gulf of Mexico...

 and a link to the Port of Mobile
Mobile, Alabama
Mobile is the third most populous city in the Southern US state of Alabama and is the county seat of Mobile County. It is located on the Mobile River and the central Gulf Coast of the United States. The population within the city limits was 195,111 during the 2010 census. It is the largest...

, enters Tennessee near the Tennessee-Alabama-Mississippi boundary. This waterway reduces the navigation distance from Tennessee, north Alabama, and northern Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico
Gulf of Mexico
The Gulf of Mexico is a partially landlocked ocean basin largely surrounded by the North American continent and the island of Cuba. It is bounded on the northeast, north and northwest by the Gulf Coast of the United States, on the southwest and south by Mexico, and on the southeast by Cuba. In...

 by hundreds of miles. The final part of the Tennessee's run is in Kentucky
Kentucky
The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state, more specifically in the East South Central region. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth...

, where it separates the Jackson Purchase
Jackson Purchase
The Jackson Purchase is a region in the state of Kentucky bounded by the Mississippi River to the west, the Ohio River to the north, and Tennessee River to the east. Although technically part of Kentucky at its statehood in 1792, the land did not come under definitive U.S. control until 1818, when...

 from the rest of the state. It then flows into the Ohio River at Paducah, Kentucky
Paducah, Kentucky
Paducah is the largest city in Kentucky's Jackson Purchase Region and the county seat of McCracken County, Kentucky, United States. It is located at the confluence of the Tennessee River and the Ohio River, halfway between the metropolitan areas of St. Louis, Missouri, to the west and Nashville,...

.

Dams

The river has been dammed numerous times
Dams and reservoirs of the Tennessee River
The Tennessee Valley Authority operates the Tennessee River system to provide a wide range of public benefits: year-round navigation, flood damage reduction, affordable electricity, improved water quality and water supply, recreation, and economic growth....

, primarily by Tennessee Valley Authority
Tennessee Valley Authority
The Tennessee Valley Authority is a federally owned corporation in the United States created by congressional charter in May 1933 to provide navigation, flood control, electricity generation, fertilizer manufacturing, and economic development in the Tennessee Valley, a region particularly affected...

 (TVA) projects. The placement of TVA's Kentucky Dam on the Tennessee River and the Corps' Barkley Dam on the Cumberland River
Cumberland River
The Cumberland River is a waterway in the Southern United States. It is long. It starts in Harlan County in far southeastern Kentucky between Pine and Cumberland mountains, flows through southern Kentucky, crosses into northern Tennessee, and then curves back up into western Kentucky before...

 directly led to the creation of Land Between the Lakes. A navigation canal located at Grand Rivers, Kentucky
Grand Rivers, Kentucky
Grand Rivers is a city in Livingston County, Kentucky, United States. The population was 343 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Paducah, KY-IL Micropolitan Statistical Area.-Geography:Grand Rivers is located at ....

 links Kentucky Lake
Kentucky Lake
Kentucky Lake is a major navigable reservoir along the Tennessee River in Kentucky and Tennessee. Created in 1944 by the Tennessee Valley Authority's impounding of the Tennessee River by Kentucky Dam, the lake is the largest artificial lake by surface area in the United States east of the...

 and Lake Barkley
Lake Barkley
Lake Barkley, a reservoir in Livingston, Lyon, and Trigg counties in Kentucky and extending into Stewart and Houston counties in Tennessee, was impounded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1966 upon the completion of Barkley Dam. Both the lake and the dam are named for Vice President Alben...

. The canal allows for a shorter trip for river traffic going from the Tennessee to most of the Ohio River, and for traffic going down the Cumberland River toward the Mississippi.

Important cities and towns

Cities in bold type have more than 30,000 residents
  • Bridgeport, Alabama
    Bridgeport, Alabama
    Bridgeport is a small city in Jackson County, Alabama, United States. At the time of 2000 census the population was 2,728. Bridgeport is included in the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area.-History:...

  • Chattanooga, Tennessee
    Chattanooga, Tennessee
    Chattanooga is the fourth-largest city in the US state of Tennessee , with a population of 169,887. It is the seat of Hamilton County...

  • Cherokee, Alabama
    Cherokee, Alabama
    Cherokee incorporated December 7 1871 is a town in west Colbert County, Alabama, United States. It is part of the Florence - Muscle Shoals Metropolitan Statistical Area known as "The Shoals". As of the 2000 census, the population of the town is 1,237....

  • Clifton, Tennessee
    Clifton, Tennessee
    Clifton is a city in Wayne County, Tennessee, United States. The population was 2,699 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Clifton is located at ....

  • Crump, Tennessee
    Crump, Tennessee
    Crump is a city in Hardin County, Tennessee, United States. The population was 1,428 at the 2010 census.-Geography:Crump is located at ....

  • Decatur, Alabama
    Decatur, Alabama
    Decatur is a city in Limestone and Morgan Counties in the U.S. state of Alabama. The city, affectionately known as "The River City", is located in Northern Alabama on the banks of Wheeler Lake, along the Tennessee River. It is the largest city and county seat of Morgan County...

  • Florence, Alabama
    Florence, Alabama
    Florence is the county seat of Lauderdale County, Alabama, United States, in the northwestern corner of the state.According to the 2005 Census Bureau estimates, the city's population was 36,721....

  • Grand Rivers, Kentucky
    Grand Rivers, Kentucky
    Grand Rivers is a city in Livingston County, Kentucky, United States. The population was 343 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Paducah, KY-IL Micropolitan Statistical Area.-Geography:Grand Rivers is located at ....

  • Guntersville, Alabama
    Guntersville, Alabama
    Guntersville is a city in Marshall County, Alabama, United States and is included in the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area. At the 2010 census, the population of the city was 8,197. The city is the county seat of Marshall County. Guntersville is located in a HUBZone as identified by the...

  • Harrison, Tennessee
    Harrison, Tennessee
    Harrison is a census-designated place in Hamilton County, Tennessee, United States. The population was 7,769 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Chattanooga, TN–GA Metropolitan Statistical Area...

  • Huntsville, Alabama
    Huntsville, Alabama
    Huntsville is a city located primarily in Madison County in the central part of the far northern region of the U.S. state of Alabama. Huntsville is the county seat of Madison County. The city extends west into neighboring Limestone County. Huntsville's population was 180,105 as of the 2010 Census....

  • Killen, Alabama
    Killen, Alabama
    Killen is a town in Lauderdale County, Alabama, United States. It is part of the Florence - Muscle Shoals Metropolitan Statistical Area known as "The Shoals". As of the 2000 census, the population of the town is 1,190.-Geography:...

  • Kingston, Tennessee
    Kingston, Tennessee
    Kingston is a city in and the county seat of Roane County, Tennessee, United States, and is adjacent to Watts Bar Lake. Kingston, with a population of 5,264 at the 2000 United States census, is included in the Harriman, Tennessee Micropolitan Statistical Area....

  • Knoxville, Tennessee
    Knoxville, Tennessee
    Founded in 1786, Knoxville is the third-largest city in the U.S. state of Tennessee, U.S.A., behind Memphis and Nashville, and is the county seat of Knox County. It is the largest city in East Tennessee, and the second-largest city in the Appalachia region...

  • Langston, Alabama
    Langston, Alabama
    Langston is a town in Jackson County, Alabama, United States, and is included in the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area. As of the 2000 census, the population of the town is 254.-Geography:Langston is located at .According to the U.S...

  • Lenoir City, Tennessee
    Lenoir City, Tennessee
    Lenoir City is a city in Loudon County, Tennessee, United States. Its population was 8,642 at the 2010 census. It is included in the Knoxville Metropolitan Area....

  • Loudon, Tennessee
    Loudon, Tennessee
    Loudon is a city in and the county seat of Loudon County, Tennessee, United States. Its population was 4,476 at the 2000 census. It is included in the Knoxville, Tennessee Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city is located in eastern Tennessee, southwest of Knoxville, on the Tennessee River...

  • New Johnsonville, Tennessee
    New Johnsonville, Tennessee
    New Johnsonville is a city in Humphreys County, Tennessee, United States. The population was 1,905 at the 2000 census.-Geography:New Johnsonville is located at ....

  • Paducah, Kentucky
    Paducah, Kentucky
    Paducah is the largest city in Kentucky's Jackson Purchase Region and the county seat of McCracken County, Kentucky, United States. It is located at the confluence of the Tennessee River and the Ohio River, halfway between the metropolitan areas of St. Louis, Missouri, to the west and Nashville,...

  • Redstone Arsenal, Alabama
  • Savannah, Tennessee
    Savannah, Tennessee
    Savannah is a city in Hardin County, Tennessee, United States. The population was 6,917 at the 2000 census and the 2007 population estimate was 7,262. It is the county seat of Hardin County. Savannah hosted the NAIA college football national championship game from 1996-2007. Savannah is home to...

  • Scottsboro, Alabama
    Scottsboro, Alabama
    Scottsboro is a city in Jackson County, Alabama, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 14,770. Named for its founder Robert Scott, the city is the county seat of Jackson County....

  • Sheffield, Alabama
    Sheffield, Alabama
    Sheffield is a city in Colbert County, Alabama, United States, and is included in The Shoals MSA. As of the 2000 census, the population of the city is 9,652. Sheffield is the birthplace of notable attorney, actor, former senator and presidential contender Fred Thompson...

  • Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee
    Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee
    Soddy-Daisy is a city in Hamilton County, Tennessee, United States. The population was 11,530 at the 2000 census. The City was formed in 1969 when the communities of Soddy and Daisy, along with nearby developed areas along U.S. Highway 27, merged to form Soddy-Daisy. It is rapidly becoming a...

  • Signal Mountain, Tennessee
    Signal Mountain, Tennessee
    Signal Mountain is a town in Hamilton County, Tennessee, United States. The town is a suburb of Chattanooga and is located on Walden Ridge, a land mass often mistakenly referred to as "Signal Mountain" itself...

  • South Pittsburg, Tennessee
    South Pittsburg, Tennessee
    South Pittsburg is a city in Marion County, Tennessee, United States. It is part of the Chattanooga, TN–GA Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 3,295 at the 2000 census. South Pittsburg is home to the National Cornbread Festival.-History:...

  • Triana, Alabama
    Triana, Alabama
    Triana is a town located on the southern county line of Madison County, Alabama, United States, and is included in the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area. As of the 2000 census, the population of the town is 458.-Geography:...

  • Waterloo, Alabama
    Waterloo, Alabama
    Waterloo is a town in Lauderdale County, Alabama, United States. It is part of the Florence - Muscle Shoals Metropolitan Statistical Area known as "The Shoals". As of the 2000 census, the population of the town is 208. The town was incorporated in on the banks of the Tennessee River...


Name

The river appears on French
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 maps from the late 17th century with the names "Caquinampo" or "Kasqui." Maps from the early 18th century call it "Cussate," "Hogohegee," "Callamaco," and "Acanseapi." A 1755 British map showed the Tennessee River as the "River of the Cherakees." By the late 18th century, it had come to be called "Tennessee," a name derived from the Cherokee village named Tanasi
Tanasi
Tanasi is a historic Overhill Cherokee village site in Monroe County, Tennessee, in the southeastern United States. The village is best known as the namesake for the state of Tennessee...

.

Beginning

The Tennessee River begins at mile post 652, where the French Broad River meets the Holston River, but historically there were several different definitions of its starting point. In the late 18th century, the mouth of the Little Tennessee River
Little Tennessee River
The Little Tennessee River is a tributary of the Tennessee River, approximately 135 miles long, in the Appalachian Mountains in the southeastern United States.-Geography:...

 (at Lenoir City
Lenoir City, Tennessee
Lenoir City is a city in Loudon County, Tennessee, United States. Its population was 8,642 at the 2010 census. It is included in the Knoxville Metropolitan Area....

) was considered to be the beginning of the Tennessee River. Through much of the 19th century, the Tennessee River was considered to start at the mouth of Clinch River
Clinch River
The Clinch River rises in Southwest Virginia near Tazewell, Virginia and flows southwest through the Great Appalachian Valley, gathering various tributaries including the Powell River before joining the Tennessee River in East Tennessee.-Course:...

 (at Kingston
Kingston, Tennessee
Kingston is a city in and the county seat of Roane County, Tennessee, United States, and is adjacent to Watts Bar Lake. Kingston, with a population of 5,264 at the 2000 United States census, is included in the Harriman, Tennessee Micropolitan Statistical Area....

). An 1889 declaration by the Tennessee General Assembly
Tennessee General Assembly
The Tennessee General Assembly is the state legislature of the U.S. state of Tennessee.-Constitutional structure:According to the Tennessee State Constitution of 1870, the General Assembly is a bicameral legislature and consists of a Senate of thirty-three members and a House of Representatives of...

 designated Kingsport
Kingsport, Tennessee
Kingsport is a city located mainly in Sullivan County with some western portions in Hawkins County in the US state of Tennessee. The majority of the city lies in Sullivan County...

 (on the Holston River
Holston River
The Holston River is a major river system of southwestern Virginia and east Tennessee. The three major forks of the Holston rise in southwestern Virginia and have their confluence near Kingsport, Tennessee. The North Fork flows southwest from Sharon Springs in Bland County, Virginia...

) as the start of the Tennessee, but the following year a federal law was enacted that finally fixed the start of the river at its current location.

Water rights and border dispute with Georgia

At various points since the early 19th century, Georgia
Georgia (U.S. state)
Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

 has disputed its northern border with Tennessee. In 1796, when Tennessee was admitted to the Union, the border was originally defined by United States Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 as located on the 35th parallel, thereby ensuring that at least a portion of the river would be located within Georgia. As a result of an erroneously conducted survey in 1818 (ratified by the Tennessee legislature, but not Georgia), however, the actual border line was set on the ground approximately one mile south, thus placing the disputed portion of the river entirely in Tennessee.

Georgia made several unsuccessful attempts to correct what Georgia felt was an erroneous survey line 'in the 1890s, 1905, 1915, 1922, 1941, 1947 and 1971 to "resolve" the dispute', according to C. Crews Townsend, Joseph McCoin, Robert F. Parsley, Alison Martin and Zachary H. Greene, writing for the Tennessee Bar Journal, a publication of the Tennessee Bar Association, appearing on May 12, 2008.

In 2008, as a result of a serious drought and resulting water shortage, the Georgia General Assembly
Georgia General Assembly
The Georgia General Assembly is the state legislature of the U.S. state of Georgia. It is bicameral, being composed of the Georgia House of Representatives and the Georgia Senate....

 passed a resolution directing the governor to pursue its claim in the United States Supreme Court.

According to a story aired on WTVC-TV in Chattanooga on March 14, 2008, a local attorney familiar with case law on border disputes, says the U.S. Supreme Court generally will maintain the original borders between states and avoid stepping into border disputes, preferring the parties work out their differences.

Meanwhile, many Tennessee lawmakers have dismissed the Georgia claims.

Modern use

The Tennessee River is an important part of the Great Loop
Great loop
The circumnavigation of Eastern North America by water is known as The Great Loop. Also improperly referred to as the Great Circle Route , the trip varies from 5,000 miles to 7,500 miles depending on the options used. The boats used range from personal watercraft to 60-foot yachts...

, the recreational circumnavigation of Eastern North America by water.

Two tributaries, the Emory River
Emory River
The Emory River is a stream draining a portion of Tennessee's Cumberland Plateau.-Hydrography:The Emory River rises on the slopes of Frozen Head and Bird Mountain, prominent peaks in that part of the Cumberland Plateau in Morgan County, Tennessee. Frozen Head is the focus of a Tennessee state park...

 and Clinch River
Clinch River
The Clinch River rises in Southwest Virginia near Tazewell, Virginia and flows southwest through the Great Appalachian Valley, gathering various tributaries including the Powell River before joining the Tennessee River in East Tennessee.-Course:...

 were the sites of the Kingston Fossil Plant coal fly ash slurry spill
Kingston Fossil Plant coal fly ash slurry spill
The TVA Kingston Fossil Plant coal fly ash slurry spill occurred just before 1 a.m. on Monday December 22, 2008, when an ash dike ruptured at an solid waste containment area at the Tennessee Valley Authority's Kingston Fossil Plant in Roane County, Tennessee, USA. of coal fly ash slurry was...

, which released 1.1 billion gallons of slurry into the surrounding waterways in 2008.

Ecology

The Tennessee River and its tributaries host some 102 species of mussel
Mussel
The common name mussel is used for members of several families of clams or bivalvia mollusca, from saltwater and freshwater habitats. These groups have in common a shell whose outline is elongated and asymmetrical compared with other edible clams, which are often more or less rounded or oval.The...

s. Native Americans
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 ate freshwater mussels. During the Mississippian Period, crushed mussel shells were mixed into clay
Clay
Clay is a general term including many combinations of one or more clay minerals with traces of metal oxides and organic matter. Geologic clay deposits are mostly composed of phyllosilicate minerals containing variable amounts of water trapped in the mineral structure.- Formation :Clay minerals...

 to add strength to pottery
Pottery
Pottery is the material from which the potteryware is made, of which major types include earthenware, stoneware and porcelain. The place where such wares are made is also called a pottery . Pottery also refers to the art or craft of the potter or the manufacture of pottery...

. A "pearl" button
Button
In modern clothing and fashion design, a button is a small fastener, most commonly made of plastic, but also frequently of seashell, which secures two pieces of fabric together. In archaeology, a button can be a significant artifact. In the applied arts and in craft, a button can be an example of...

 industry was established in the Tennessee Valley beginning in 1887, producing buttons from mussel shells, which were abundant. Button production ceased after World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, when plastic
Plastic
A plastic material is any of a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic organic solids used in the manufacture of industrial products. Plastics are typically polymers of high molecular mass, and may contain other substances to improve performance and/or reduce production costs...

s largely replaced pearl as a button material. Mussel populations have declined drastically due to dam construction, water pollution, and invasive species
Invasive species
"Invasive species", or invasive exotics, is a nomenclature term and categorization phrase used for flora and fauna, and for specific restoration-preservation processes in native habitats, with several definitions....

. Destruction of aquatic habitat by dam construction caused some species to become extinct, while numerous other species are endangered
Endangered species
An endangered species is a population of organisms which is at risk of becoming extinct because it is either few in numbers, or threatened by changing environmental or predation parameters...

.

Popular culture

  • Cormac McCarthy
    Cormac McCarthy
    Cormac McCarthy is an American novelist and playwright. He has written ten novels, spanning the Southern Gothic, Western, and modernist genres. He received the Pulitzer Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction for The Road...

    's 1979 novel
    Novel
    A novel is a book of long narrative in literary prose. The genre has historical roots both in the fields of the medieval and early modern romance and in the tradition of the novella. The latter supplied the present generic term in the late 18th century....

     Suttree
    Suttree
    Suttree is a semi-autobiographical novel by Cormac McCarthy, published in 1979. Set in 1951 in Knoxville, Tennessee, the novel follows Cornelius Suttree, who has repudiated his former life of privilege to become a fisherman on the Tennessee River. The novel has a fragmented structure with many...

    concerns a man who forsakes his life of privilege to become a fisherman
    Fisherman
    A fisherman or fisher is someone who captures fish and other animals from a body of water, or gathers shellfish. Worldwide, there are about 38 million commercial and subsistence fishermen and fish farmers. The term can also be applied to recreational fishermen and may be used to describe both men...

     along the Tennessee River in Knoxville in the early 1950s.
  • The song "Tennessee River
    Tennessee River (song)
    "Tennessee River" is a song made famous by the country music band Alabama. Written by the group's lead singer, Randy Owen, the song was released in 1980, and eventually became the group's first No...

    " was recorded by the country music
    Country music
    Country music is a popular American musical style that began in the rural Southern United States in the 1920s. It takes its roots from Western cowboy and folk music...

     band Alabama
    Alabama (band)
    Alabama is a country music and southern rock band from Fort Payne, Alabama, United States. The band was founded in 1969 by Randy Owen and his cousin Teddy Gentry , soon joined by Jeff Cook...

     in 1980.
  • Darryl Worley
    Darryl Worley
    Darryl Wade Worley is an American country music artist. Signed to DreamWorks Records Nashville in 2000, Worley released four albums for the label: Hard Rain Don't Last , I Miss My Friend , Have You Forgotten? , and Darryl Worley in 2004...

    's Tennessee River Run was written and recorded as a memoir to the memories he made over the course of his lifetime on the Tennessee River and at Pickwick Lake
    Pickwick Lake
    Pickwick Lake is the reservoir created by Pickwick Landing Dam as part of the Tennessee Valley Authority. The lake stretches from Pickwick Landing Dam to Wilson Dam....

    , just outside his hometown of Savannah, TN.

Tennessee River tributaries

Tributaries and sub-tributaries are listed hierarchically in order from the mouth of the Tennessee River upstream.
  • Horse Creek Savannah, TN (Hardin County, TN)
  • Big Sandy River
    Big Sandy River (Tennessee)
    The Big Sandy River is a tributary of the Tennessee River in the U.S. state of Tennessee. Via the Tennessee and Ohio rivers, it is part of the Mississippi River watershed...

     (Tennessee)
  • White Oak Creek
    White Oak Creek (Tennessee)
    White Oak Creek is a tributary of the Tennessee River in western Tennessee in the United States. The area of the creek around the span of the Magnolia Bridge is a popular public park....

  • Duck River
    Duck River (Tennessee)
    The Duck River, long, is the longest river located entirely within the U.S. state of Tennessee. Free flowing for most of its length, the Duck River is home to over 50 species of freshwater mussels and 151 species of fish, making it one of the most biologically diverse rivers in North America.The...

     (Tennessee)
    • Buffalo River
      Buffalo River (Tennessee)
      The Buffalo River is the longest unimpounded river in Middle Tennessee in the United States, flowing through the southern and western portions of that region. It is the largest tributary of the Duck River and is used for canoeing, especially in its middle section...

       (Tennessee)
      • Green River
        Green River (Tennessee)
        The Green River is a tributary of the Buffalo River in Tennessee. By the Buffalo River and the Duck River it is a tributary of the Tennessee River. The Green River is one of the main streams of Wayne County. Situated in the southwestern corner of Middle Tennessee along the Alabama line, Wayne...

      • Little Buffalo River
        Little Buffalo River (Tennessee)
        The Little Buffalo River is an tributary of the Buffalo River in the U.S. state of Tennessee. Via the Buffalo, Duck, Tennessee, and Ohio rivers, it reaches the Mississippi River....

    • Piney River
      Piney River (Middle Tennessee)
      The Piney River is a tributary of the Duck River in Middle Tennessee in the United States. Via the Duck River, the Tennessee River, and the Ohio River, it is part of the Mississippi River watershed. The headwater tributaries of the Piney River rise in Dickson County, Tennessee near the city of...

       (Tennessee)
    • Little Duck River
      Little Duck River
      The Little Duck River is a tributary of the Duck River of Tennessee in the United States. Via the Duck, Tennessee, and Ohio rivers, it is part of the Mississippi River watershed...

  • Beech River
    Beech River
    The Beech River is a stream draining the east-central portion of West Tennessee in the United States. The Beech rises about northwest of Lexington, Tennessee. In the same area are the headwaters of two other West Tennessee rivers, the Big Sandy River and the Middle Fork of the Forked Deer River...

     (Tennessee)
  • Shoal Creek
    Shoal Creek (Tennessee River)
    Shoal Creek is a stream that arises in Lawrence County, Tennessee, and enters the Tennessee River in Lauderdale County, Alabama, where its lower reaches are impounded in the backwater of Wilson Dam.Its mouth is at approximately .'...

  • Bear Creek (Alabama, Mississippi)
    • Buzzard Roost Creek (Alabama)
  • Colbert Creek (Alabama)
  • Malone Creek (Alabama)
  • Mulberry Creek (Alabama)
  • Cane Creek (Alabama)
  • Dry Creek (Alabama)
  • Little Bear Creek (Alabama)
  • Spring Creek (Alabama)
  • Cypress Creek (Alabama)
  • Shoal Creek (Alabama)
  • First Creek (Alabama)
  • Elk River
    Elk River (Tennessee)
    The Elk River is a tributary of the Tennessee River in the U.S. states of Tennessee and Alabama. The river is about long altogther.-Hydrography:...

     (Tennessee, Alabama)
  • Flint Creek
    Flint Creek
    Flint Creek is a major tributary along the Tennessee River that flows from its headwaters in northern Cullman County to Wheeler Lake in Morgan County, Alabama in Decatur...

     (Alabama)
  • Limestone Creek (Alabama, Tennessee)
    • Beaverdam Creek
      Beaverdam Creek
      Beaverdam Creek is a Pennsylvania stream near Hunterstown, northeast of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The creek's intersection with the road leading to the Gettysburg Railroad's Granite station was the site of the Battle of Hunterstown on July 2, 1863....

       (Alabama)
  • Indian Creek (Alabama)
  • Barren Fork Creek
  • Flint River
    Flint River (Alabama)
    The Flint River, long and draining an area of , is a tributary to the Tennessee River. The river rises in Lincoln County, Tennessee, and flows south into Madison County, Alabama, where most of the river'swatershed is located. The land within this watershed is predominantly agricultural and has...

     (Alabama, Tennessee)
  • Paint Rock River
    Paint Rock River
    The Paint Rock River is a tributary of the Tennessee River in northern Alabama in the United States. Its tributaries also drain a portion of south-central Tennessee....

     (Alabama, Tennessee)
  • Sequatchie River
    Sequatchie River
    The Sequatchie River is a waterway that drains the Sequatchie Valley, a large valley in the Cumberland Plateau in Middle Tennessee.-Hydrography:The Sequatchie River's source is a massive spring which flows out of Head of Sequatchie Spring...

     (Tennessee)
    • Little Sequatchie River
      Little Sequatchie River
      The Little Sequatchie River is a tributary of the Sequatchie River in Tennessee. Unlike its larger namesake, it does not have a spectacular large spring source but is the result of the confluence of many smaller streams in a very remote, scenic area of the Cumberland Plateau along the line...

  • Mountain Creek (Tennessee)
  • Lookout Creek (Tennessee, Georgia)
  • Chattanooga Creek (Tennessee, Georgia)
  • Citico Creek (Tennessee)
  • South Chickamauga Creek (Tennessee, Georgia)
  • North Chickamauga Creek (Tennessee)
  • Hiwassee River
    Hiwassee River
    The Hiwassee River has its headwaters on the north slope of Rocky Mountain in Towns County in northern Georgia and flows northward into North Carolina before turning westward into Tennessee, flowing into the Tennessee River a few miles west of State Route 58 in Meigs County, Tennessee...

     (Tennessee, North Carolina)
    • Conasauga Creek
      Conasauga Creek
      Conasauga Creek is a tributary stream of the Hiwassee River, located in southeast Tennessee, in the United States. It is not to be confused with the nearby Conasauga River.-Course:...

       (Tennessee)
    • Ocoee River
      Toccoa/Ocoee River
      The Toccoa River and Ocoee River are actually a single river that flows northwestward through the southern Appalachian Mountains of the southeastern United States...

       (Tennessee, Georgia)
    • Nottely River
      Nottely River
      The Nottely River is a river in the United States. The river originates in the Blue Ridge Mountains in northern Georgia. The river flows for into the artificial Hiwassee Reservoir in North Carolina...

       (North Carolina, Georgia)
  • Piney River
    Piney River (East Tennessee)
    This article is about the Piney River of East Tennessee. For information about the Piney River of Middle Tennessee, see Piney River ....

     (Tennessee)
  • Clinch River
    Clinch River
    The Clinch River rises in Southwest Virginia near Tazewell, Virginia and flows southwest through the Great Appalachian Valley, gathering various tributaries including the Powell River before joining the Tennessee River in East Tennessee.-Course:...

     (Tennessee, Virginia)
    • Emory River
      Emory River
      The Emory River is a stream draining a portion of Tennessee's Cumberland Plateau.-Hydrography:The Emory River rises on the slopes of Frozen Head and Bird Mountain, prominent peaks in that part of the Cumberland Plateau in Morgan County, Tennessee. Frozen Head is the focus of a Tennessee state park...

       (Tennessee)
      • Little Emory River
        Little Emory River
        The Little Emory River rises in Morgan County, Tennessee near the town of Coalfield. It is one of the major tributaries to the Emory River. It crosses into Roane County, where it soon becomes an embayment of Watts Bar Lake several miles upstream of its mouth into the Emory...

      • Obed River
        Obed River
        Obed River is a stream draining a part of the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee. It, and particularly its tributaries, are important streams for whitewater enthusiasts....

         (Tennessee)
        • Little Obed River
          Little Obed River
          The Little Obed River is a ten mile long stream in the Cumberland Plateau in Cumberland County, Tennessee.The Little Obed rises east of Crossville and from near its source flows in a deep gorge that it has cut into the rocks capping the plateau, primarily sandstones of the Pennsylvanian Period...

    • Poplar Creek
      Poplar Creek (Tennessee)
      Poplar Creek is a tributary of the Clinch River in Anderson and Roane counties in East Tennessee. Draining a watershed area of more than , it enters the Clinch near the former K-25 site, a short distance downstream from the confluence of East Fork Poplar Creek, its largest tributary....

      • East Fork Poplar Creek
    • Beaver Creek
      Beaver Creek (Tennessee)
      Beaver Creek is a tributary of the Clinch River in Knox County in East Tennessee. It drains a watershed area of between Copper Ridge and Black Oak Ridge. It flows from northeast to southwest from the Gibbs High School area, through the Halls, Powell, Karns, Solway, and Hardin Valley communities,...

    • Powell River (Tennessee, Virginia)
  • Little Tennessee River
    Little Tennessee River
    The Little Tennessee River is a tributary of the Tennessee River, approximately 135 miles long, in the Appalachian Mountains in the southeastern United States.-Geography:...

     (Tennessee, North Carolina)
    • Tellico River
      Tellico River
      The Tellico River rises in the westernmost mountains of North Carolina, but it flows mainly through Monroe County, Tennessee. It is a major tributary of the Little Tennessee River and the namesake of Tellico Reservoir, a reservoir created by Tellico Dam, which impounds the lower reaches of the...

       (Tennessee)
    • Tuckasegee River (North Carolina)
    • Nantahala River
      Nantahala River
      The Nantahala River is a river in western North Carolina in the United States, within the Nantahala National Forest, and near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Two-lane U.S...

       (North Carolina)
    • Cullasaja River
      Cullasaja River
      The Cullasaja River is a short river located entirely in Macon County, North Carolina. It is a tributary of the Little Tennessee River , into which it flows near the county seat of Franklin. It originates to the southeast, near Highlands, the county's only other town...

       (North Carolina)
  • Little River
    Little River (Tennessee)
    Little River is a scenic river in Tennessee which drains a area containing some of the most spectacular scenery in the southeastern United States. The first of the river are all located within the borders of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park...

     (Tennessee)
  • French Broad River
    French Broad River
    The French Broad River flows from near the village of Rosman in Transylvania County, North Carolina, into the state of Tennessee. Its confluence with the Holston River at Knoxville is the beginning of the Tennessee River....

    • Little Pigeon River
      Little Pigeon River (Tennessee)
      The Little Pigeon River is a river located entirely within Sevier County, Tennessee.It rises from a series of streams which flow together on the dividing ridge between the states of Tennessee and North Carolina inside the boundary of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The river is subdivided...

       (Tennessee)
    • Nolichucky River
      Nolichucky River
      The Nolichucky River is a major stream draining the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina and east Tennessee. The river is long.-Hydrography:...

       (Tennessee, North Carolina)
    • Pigeon River
      Pigeon River (Tennessee - North Carolina)
      The Pigeon River of western North Carolina and east Tennessee rises above Canton, North Carolina. Below this, it flows roughly parallel to Interstate 40 for many miles and is impounded by a dam -- Walters Dam -- belonging to Progress Energy before entering Tennessee, where it flows into the French...

       (Tennessee, North Carolina)
  • Holston River
    Holston River
    The Holston River is a major river system of southwestern Virginia and east Tennessee. The three major forks of the Holston rise in southwestern Virginia and have their confluence near Kingsport, Tennessee. The North Fork flows southwest from Sharon Springs in Bland County, Virginia...

     (Tennessee)
    • North Fork Holston River (Tennessee, Virginia)
    • South Fork Holston River (Tennessee, Virginia)
      • Watauga River
        Watauga River
        The Watauga River is a large stream of western North Carolina and East Tennessee. It is 60 miles long with its headwaters on the slopes of Grandfather Mountain and Peak Mountain in Watauga County, North Carolina.-Hydrography:...

         (Tennessee, North Carolina)
        • Doe River
          Doe River
          The Doe River is a naturally flowing river in northeast Tennessee that forms in Carter County near the North Carolina line, just south of Roan Mountain State Park.-Hydrography:...

           (Tennessee)
    • Middle Fork Holston River (Virginia)

See also


Further reading

  • Woodside, M.D. et al. (2004). Water quality in the lower Tennessee River Basin, Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Georgia, 1999-2001 [U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1233]. Reston, VA: U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey.
  • Myers, Fred (2004). Tennessee River CruiseGuide, 5th Edition
  • Hay, Jerry (2010). Tennessee River Guidebook, 1st Edition

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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