efforts to protect the environment go way beyond just taking care of
erosion-control policy for the 11,000 miles of shoreline it manages
is best summed up in three words: Keep it covered.
In 1994, the agency undertook the ambitious task of classifying erosion
along its reservoir shorelines by extent and type. That field assessment,
which surveyed almost 6,000 shoreline miles at 22 reservoirs, provided
an overall view of the erosion problem. It indicated that 100-plus miles
of shoreline, more than 1 percent of the total, was becoming critically
Fortunately, the solution proved simple. Using native plants suited
to each particular site, TVA works to keep the soil around reservoirs
in place by constructing conservation buffers50-foot wide strips
of land that remain in permanent vegetation. Scenic beauty and enhanced
wildlife habitats are added benefits of these buffers. Between 1996
and 1999, TVA helped stabilize 88 critically eroding sites along 16.3
miles of shoreline throughout the watershed.
To inform waterfront landowners about shoreline soil conservation, the
agency has developed a booklet and CD-ROM called Banks and Buffers.
The package helps users select native plants that are right for specific
needs, preferences, and site conditions. It also includes information
on where to get the plants, how to grow them, and what aesthetic, economic,
or wildlife-related value they have.
Besides being the delicate point where water, erosion, and pollution
runoff meet, shorelines are also prime recreation and land development
spots. To protect natural resources while allowing reasonable access
to the water, TVA adopted a residential Shoreline
Management Policy in 1999.
Under the new policy, residential access on TVA land is limited to areas
where private-access rights currently exist (about 38 percent of Valley
shorelines). A maintain and gain strategy lets landowners
request permission to trade access rightsto give them up at one
location in order to gain them at another. The aim is no net loss of
public shoreline, and preferably a net gain.
TVA will continue to evaluate requests for building activities and review
them to gauge their potential environmental impact. To ensure that future
land development will be compatible with environmental-protection goals,
the policy also includes new standards for docks and erosion control
and requires a buffer zone for newly developed residential areas that
border TVA public land.
Shaped by extensive public input, the new Shoreline Management Policy
seeks to balance shoreline development and recreational use issues with
resource-conservation needs in order to keep some of the most sensitive
ecosystems in the Tennessee River watershed from eroding away.
responsible power-generation and resource-management decisions result
because TVA manages the whole watershed. It helps TVA balance the interests
among their customers, taxpayers, homeowners, fishermen, boaters, environmentalists,
and local officials. A great benefit of this strategy is a shoreline-management
zone to promote water quality within each reservoir. The vegetation
growing in this 50-foot strip will help control erosion and filter runoff.
Marty Marina, Executive
Director, Tennessee Conservation League
TVA watershed teams
are on the jobin this case, conducting a stream survey to monitor
the health of aquatic species.