Rails with Trails Hydrology


  • Ellie Fetzer
  • Cindy Hendry
  • Kathleen Thompson


The Tennessee Central Heritage Rail Trail, completed in October 2016, is a 4.23 mile long mixed-use bike trail that is envisioned to run 19 miles from Baxter to Monterey. Currently, the trail starts at the Cookeville Train Depot Museum, passes through Tennessee Tech University, and ends at the Algood Community Library and Senior Citizen Center. After an initial exploratory examination of the trail, a selection of low-lying areas was visually identified as potential hazards during a storm event based on their estimated likelihood of flooding or sedimentation. Data was gathered manually in the form of geolocated ground photographs and GNSS GPS points during a walk of the trail by the researchers. Collected data was then analyzed in association with flow accumulation data derived from USGS 3DEP LiDAR data collected for the Upper Cumberland region in December 2015 and January 2016. However, since the LiDAR data was collected prior to the trail’s completion, the researchers used it to delineate a separate set of potentially hydrologically hazardous areas along the trail. The two sets of areas were then compared to one another, resulting in a final shortlist of locations along the trail deemed most important to be addressed by trail planners. Other locations were also identified as being successes where remotely sensed data indicated potential drainage issues, but trail planners had adequately mitigated the drainage issues during construction.





Environmental Studies