Chilhowie Town Park- Chilhowie, VA

The Chilhowie Town Park runs parallel to the Middle Fork Holston River in the Town of Chilhowie, VA.  The multi-use park has pavilions, fishing access, a walking/running trail, and a playground.  The streambanks were experiencing accelerated bank erosion along segments of the 3,200 ft reach. This erosion was caused primarily by regular maintenance and mowing of the banks by the town, and was therefore dominated by turf grass and little woody native riparian vegetation.

The goal of this project was to reshape the vertically eroding banks, establish a riparian buffer, install rootwads to protect a stormwater culvert, and to place rock clusters throughout the reach to create more fish habitat.  Additionally, several slab rock clusters were placed to help attract the illusive Eastern Hellbender.  These slab rocks mimic the natural habitat that Hellbenders like to build their nests under.

In 2019, CVI will work to enhance nearly 1.5 acres of riparian buffer.

CVI’s partners in this project include:

  • Town of Chilhowie
  • Upper Tennessee River Roundtable
  • Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program

Unique Features:


At the Chilhowie Town Park project, CVI and our partners worked together to create some unique in-stream features.  Eleven rock clusters were installed periodically throughout the reach.  So much of this reach was uniform bedrock or small pebbles.  Because of the lack of bedform diversity, fishing in this reach was negatively impacted.  For this reason, two different cluster types were designed for this project.  The first type was a simple four boulder cluster.  These boulders were more rounded and were placed with the intent to create increased fish habitat.