This week, Keep the Tennessee River Beautiful will launch the "Community Restoration River
Cleanup Series" held within the Tennessee River watershed to mitigate litter following this past
The cleanup series, as well as the outfitting of KTNRB’s 25-foot aluminum work boat and new truck, is made possible by a $6,000 Community Restoration and Resiliency grant awarded by Keep
America Beautiful. The grant is offered to KAB affiliates year-round to restore communities
either through cleanup efforts, beautification or infrastructure replacement following natural
The grant was awarded to KTNRB earlier this year, but the group had to hold off on hosting cleanups with volunteers due to the pandemic. Now that they have developed a COVID-19 policy to ensure volunteer safety, they’ve scheduled an increased number of cleanups with a lower number of volunteers allowed on the boat to follow best social distancing practices.
“Though this grant was named for restoring communities after disaster events, I think this time
around the term ‘community restoration’ will have a multilayered meaning for many of us,” said
Kathleen Gibi, KTNRB executive director. “We’re all in the need for some good news these days to
feel like we’re not only part of a community, but still able to give back and we will be getting that
sense of restoration too thanks to this Keep America Beautiful grant.”
Though more cleanups will be scheduled, the following are currently lined up:
- Thursday, Aug. 6 @ 9 a.m. | Fort Loudoun Lake (Knoxville)
- Friday, Aug. 7 @ 5:30 p.m. | Douglas Lake (Dandridge)
- Saturday, Aug. 8 @ 9 a.m. | Watts Bar Lake (Kingston)
- Tuesday, Aug. 11 @ 9:30 a.m. | Cherokee Lake (Bean Station)
- Friday, Aug.14 @ 9:30 a.m. | Nickajack Lake (Chattanooga)
- Saturday, Aug. 29 @ 9 a.m. | Chickamauga Lake (Chattanooga)
- Saturday, Sept. 19 @ 10 a.m. | Norris Lake (Norris)
The KAB grant will support the cleanup series with supplies for the volunteers including gloves, bags, litter grabbers and skimmer nets on 16-foot poles, among other supplies. The Tennessee Valley Authority supports KTNRB’s river cleanups through an ongoing work plan agreement.
Officials said, "The impact of the KAB grant will extend beyond this 2020 cleanup series, as it will also fund equipment and materials to outfit KTNRB’s 25-foot aluminum work boat and recently purchased Ford F-250 truck. Both vehicles were purchased in part with supportive funds from TVA and others. The boat is now sporting a new Yamaha SHO 90 outboard motor donated by Yamaha and Anderson Marine Family Boating Center.
"The improvements made to the boat and truck will help KTNRB’s river cleanup effectiveness."
Some of the improvements include:
• Ramps to allow heavy, large tires to be rolled up onto the boat from the shore;
• Heavy-weight chains for towing items that can’t be immediately pulled from the water;
• All-terrain, collapsible wagons that help to haul litter to the boat when floods push debris far
inland (litter can be deposited as far as 50 yards inland);
• Kayaks for retrieving marine debris in shallow waters;
• Loppers and hedge trimmers to cut through brush that inevitably grows over litter piles;
• Netting to hold litter in the boat for hauling when a dumpster is not available on site; and
• Shelving/hooks to store tools in the truck bed camper shell.
“These improvements to our fleet are giving us the chance to do more heavy-duty work,” said Ms. Gibi. “Thanks to supportive donations and grants like these, we’re truly staged to make a greater impact for our river community.”
Ms. Gibi said that this will help with flood mitigation as larger items like dock foam blocks, tires, lawn furniture, grills and infrastructure pieces can get pulled into the river during high, forceful waters.
In early 2020, flooding hit the Tennessee River Valley hard for a second year in a row, with the first
three months of the year marking the wettest start to any year in Tennessee River Valley history. The previous record was set in 1891.
In 2019, KAB awarded KTNRB with a $10,000 monetary grant through the same program following the wettest February that had been recorded to date. This year’s grant was awarded through gift cards provided by Lowe’s home improvement stores.
“It's just fantastic to be able to work with our partners who invest in Keep America Beautiful to help
administer these grants, and with affiliates like Keep the Tennessee River Beautiful who put these
funds to great use,” said Helen Lowman, president and CEO of Keep America Beautiful. “The team
at KTNRB continues to impress with their ability to serve all the communities that surround the
Tennessee River with their focus on this important American waterway."
For more information on or to sign up to be part of the Community Restoration River Cleanup Series, visit www.KeepTNRiverBeautiful.org/communityrestoration. To view KTNRB’s COVID-19 policy, visit www.KeepTNRiverBeautiful.org/covid.