Center Spotlight: The Water Center & Rural Conservation with Paper Mulch


The Water Center, a Rural Reimagined partner, is working with the Defenders of Wildlife reduce plastic waste in streams, specifically in the Walden Ridge on the Cumberland plateau – the only TN stream containing the Laurel Dace, one of the rarest fishes in the world. The area’s tomato growers use plastic mulch to prevent weeds, but plastic often ends up in streams after windstorms or during post-season removal. The Water Center is testing paper mulch, a safer environmental alternative, at Tech’s Shipley and Oakley Farms to rectify the problems caused by plastic mulch in our region. Director Schaeffer states, “Paper mulch is a novel product with potential advantages to both growers and the environment as it controls weeds but also eventually turns into compost.” Wings up, Water Center! Contact the Water Center for more information on how you can get involved, and view the full story here: