NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Tennessee waterways have gotten a new appreciation since the flood of 2010.
Before the flood, Nashville resident Ryan Glore would help pick up litter along roadways. Afterward, he focused his efforts on clearing debris from the Harpeth River that flows through his backyard.
"I'm trying to help get it back to where it needs to be," Glore said.
He is one of many whose attention has turned to taking better care of Tennessee waterways since the devastating flood that took lives and destroyed homes.
Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation scenic rivers administrator Jane Polansky told The Tennessean that they used to see the same volunteers come out to clean up waterways.
"It used to be tough to get people out for a river cleanup," Polansky said. "It was usually the same faces. We are seeing brand-new faces now. The response is just overwhelming. People are expanding what they view as their `backyard.' "
Glore and Aaron Farris of Springfield were honored in the fall by the Harpeth River Watershed Association for their volunteer efforts in helping to clean the river. Both men said they had never heard of the association before the flood.
"I had no idea about them," said Farris.
The association says the men aren't alone. About a quarter of its current membership has signed up in the last year.
"The silver lining is it raises people's awareness," Harpeth River Watershed Association's Michael Cain said about the flood.
There has also been more appreciation for the economic benefits that waterway access points can provide and more respect for how dangerous it can be to plan and build without considering waterways.
Cleanups have been held along several streams in Middle Tennessee since the flood, including Richland Creek, Mill Creek and the Red River.
In addition, volunteers have helped build access points. The Harpeth River State Park "blueway" has nine such places in a 39-mile area to put in or take out canoes and kayaks.
Other blueways are in the works along the Cumberland, Duck and Stones rivers in Middle Tennessee.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)