NASHVILLE, Tenn. (March 29, 2022) – Volunteers from Tennessee Technical University’s fishing team, student veteran organization (SVO), and Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) cadets, along with the Dekalb Fire Department, Dekalb County Sheriff’s Department, Austin Bottom Community, and the Timothy Hill Group, came to Center Hill Lake to lend assistance for the two-day cleanup.
Ten beautiful lakes stem from the Cumberland River in Kentucky and Tennessee to form the Nashville District. Maintaining the natural beauty of these lakes and their recreation areas require effort and partnerships between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District and local community partners.
Due to previous restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic and various high-water events throughout the district, lake and shoreline cleanup efforts were put on hold. As the 2022 recreation season rapidly approaches, Center Hill Lake relaunched their shoreline cleanup program. With help from the local community, Center Hill held their sixth annual cleanup at Sligo Marina.
Lt.Col. Nathan Branen, Nashville district’s deputy commander, attended the event stating, “Part of the Corps mission is to be good stewards of the public land. These cleanups not only allow us to fulfill our mission but helps us instill the message of good stewardship of our district’s natural resources to others in the community.”
Ensuring the shoreline, campgrounds, and recreational areas stay pristine is difficult for the Corps to handle alone. Ashley Webster, a park ranger at Center Hill Lake, explained, “Each year, Center Hill hosts over 1.7 million visitors. The fact we can come together several times a year to clean up the shorelines together displays the pride our visitors and local community have for Center Hill.”
For some volunteers, the spring cleanup effort is an opportunity to give back to their community. Travis Williams, an Army veteran, president of TTU’s SVO, grew up in the area. “This is where I grew up, and I feel like I’m cleaning up my home.” Williams is no stranger to the Corps; his father works for the Nashville District. As SVO president, Williams reached out to his old friend Kevin Salvilla, the resource manager at Center Hill Lake, and asked for volunteer opportunities. “I really want the SVO to be more involved in the community. We have a lot of biology and wildlife majors; it’s important to connect them to that community while also providing professional connections.”
ROTC Cadet and sophomore at TTU, Sierra Alexander, was equally eager to volunteer. “I really enjoy volunteering with the Corps!” Alexander, recently hired as a Geographic Information System intern with the Memphis District, hopes to work for the Corps permanently after her time in the Army is complete.
The DeKalb County Solid Waste Management donated an industrial size dumpster for the cleanup effort. After both days, the dumpster was filled to the brim of debris. The owners of Sligo Marina donated boats for trash removal, and transportation of the volunteers to the various sites along the shoreline. They also provided a free meal to all volunteers.
At the conclusion of the event, Kevin Salvilla, resource manager at Center Hill Lake, handed out certificates of appreciation to all the volunteers and said, “We sincerely appreciate your efforts to help us keep these areas clean, not just for your use, but for others in the future.”
(The public can obtain news, updates and information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District on the district’s website at www.lrn.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nashvillecorps.