BY KRISTEN BUCKLES
The Middle Nolichucky Watershed Alliance (MNWA) is making a brand-new start with a new executive director and a new chairman of the board.
The MNWA Executive Board held its monthly meeting on Tuesday, with Dr. Dan Barnett opening the meeting by welcoming the new director, J.C. Jones, who served for a number of years as Greene County Road Superintendent.
Barnett then read from a letter from Chairman Wayne Hughes, in which he immediately resigned from his position, citing "pressing needs at home."
Hughes wrote in his letter that the alliance is now on "solid footing" and headed in a "new direction."
"I can now leave in good conscience, knowing that the future of MNWA is secure," he wrote.
Barnett said that, at Hughes' request, he will serve as chairman through the remainder of the term, which ends in June.
The rest of the meeting passed with Jones explaining his work ethic and background.
"I'm going to try to do all I can ... to try to help the streams," Jones said. "All I'm interested in is helping the water quality of Greene County."
He told the committee that it will take time to understand all that former director Paul Hayden did in his role with the watershed prior to his sudden death last year.
Jones and other members said that, since they had been unprepared for the loss of their former director. they had been struggling to locate files.
"Just basically start again," Barnett told Jones and fellow board members. "That's basically where we are -- starting over."
The board spent time discussing grant opportunities to explore and what funds are currently available.
Board members said that they will work toward finding new office space, completing an educational video project, and exploring grant opportunities for completing the Tusculum Wetlands project and the Blueway project.
Jones also expressed an interest in grants to dismantle inactive dams, such as the one in Hamblen County at the former Enka plant.
The board will meet again on March 4.