Partnerships and Public Involvement
Much like the Neighborhood Watch program in cities, the Lake Watch partnership aims to engage citizens in reducing criminal activity in and around waterfront communities by watching for and reporting any suspicious events. Other aims include preventing death or injury from boating accidents and supporting water quality. The partnership includes citizens, business owners, boaters and other reservoir users who work in cooperation with TVA Watershed Teams, the TVA Police and other law enforcement agencies. Measured by the level of public interest it is generating, TVA’s Lake Watch program is a success. This and other TVA efforts to reduce criminal activity have resulted in heightened public awareness and reporting of suspicious activity.
Recent Lake Watch activities include cleanups at reservoirs, placing the Lake Watch hotline number at boat ramps, and distributing informational brochures. On Guntersville Reservoir, a group is partnering with the Alabama Marine Police to put identifiers such as reflective numbers or decals on boathouses for emergency response purposes. The Muscle Shoals area group produced and distributed maps on tailwater fishing at Wilson and Wheeler reservoirs and distributed water safety information to the public. Read a TVA River Neighbors story about Lake Watch.
Clean Marina Initiative
Recreational boating is an important part of the Tennessee Valley’s appeal to residents and visitors and makes a significant contribution to the regional economy each year. Although states and the EPA regulate discharges into the river, their regulations cover mostly industrial and municipal activities. To encourage the public to preserve water quality by properly managing boat fuel and waste, TVA works with marinas in the region to promote clean-water practices. It does so through its Tennessee Valley Clean Marina Initiative, which began in 2002. In 2004, 14 marinas earned the Clean Marina designation, and another 14 did so in 2005, bringing the total certified since 2002 to 53. The program’s success spurred the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to establish its own program for the Cumberland River Basin, and the State of Tennessee began urging marinas located in state parks to become certified. Four state parks have earned the right to fly the Clean Marina flag so far. Read more and view a list of TVA Clean Marinas.
Earth Day activities
When Earth Day rolls around each April, citizens pitch in to help various agencies carry out activities that beautify and protect the environment. In 2005, TVA’s watershed teams again played a leading role in organizing and carrying out local activities.
• In Keokee, Va., approximately 300 seedlings were planted on a mine reclamation site to kick off the reclamation process. More than 75 participants learned about forest reclamation of mine land and how this effort protects and improves water resources.
• At Ripley’s Aquarium in Gatlinburg, Tenn,, TVA staff distributed more than 2,000 seedlings and displayed a fish tank with various species of native fish from the nearby Pigeon River.
• Over 150 North Alabama high school students participated in Earth Day activities on TVA’s Muscle Shoals Reservation. Staff members took the students on tours of a small wild area and public nature trails to explore different environmental topics.
• At David Crockett High School in Washington County, Tenn., TVA provided agriculture and forestry students with 200 seedlings to stabilize the eroding stream bank of a creek that runs through the campus.
• In the Beaver Creek watershed of Knox County, Tennessee, TVA staff distributed more than 100 packages of native seedlings to landowners to restore vegetation along streams and help prevent erosion.
Throughout 2005, some 8,100 volunteers worked with the teams to remove 275 metric tons (302 tons) of trash and debris from watersheds in the region. Team members and partners have also instructed about 6,800 students in environmental and conservation activities. For information about future events, contact a TVA watershed team member.
Targeted watershed initiatives
Water quality in the TVA region is generally good. However, as might be expected in a watershed of 106,190 square kilometers (41,000 square miles), there are places where water quality is either not acceptable or at risk. In these areas, TVA works with partners on targeted watershed initiatives, which are long-term efforts to improve or prevent deterioration of water quality in priority locations. These initiatives are all cooperative, voluntary efforts with partners and communities.
The locations for these watershed initiatives are carefully selected. Water resource conditions across the TVA region are reviewed for candidate sites and the potential for partnership development. When a viable site is identified, work is begun with the partners to identify the sources of pollutants, expand the local capability to address these sources and develop watershed action plans to chart the course for success.
At the end of 2005, TVA was involved in 36 targeted watershed initiatives with a wide range of partners, including
- Local coalitions
- State water quality agencies
- Soil and water conservation districts
- Resource conservation and development councils
- Local water utilities
- Local governments and planning authorities
- Conservation organizations.
TVA’s systematic approach to targeting, planning and managing watershed initiatives is recognized as an innovative way to meet the challenges of improving water quality in a voluntary, partnership-based program.
Tennessee Growth Readiness
New construction of homes and industrial buildings can have far-reaching effects on water quality because of the large amount of soil disturbed and the addition of roads and parking lots that cause water to run off into streams. To help communities understand the effects of development on water quality, TVA and various partners founded the Tennessee Growth Readiness program.
Through workshops and other educational activities, the program has helped over 300 planners and public works officials from 270 communities understand how local development regulations and practices can either protect or harm water quality. In September 2005, for example, TVA and other partners, including the Southeast Watershed Forum, the Nature Conservancy and the Duck River Authority, kicked off a series of workshops on the impact of new development on water resources in the Duck River basin.
To help planners and developers throughout the TVA region understand the complex issues involved in protecting water quality, TVA created a website that outlines the best practices for development, with detailed specifications about such topics as road widths, building configuration in office parks, structures for conveying storm water away from a site, and more. See Sustainable Development.
In 2005, some local areas were notified they no longer met the new, more stringent federal clean air standards. To help local officials understand the link between air quality and community growth, the causes of air pollution, and policies that can improve air quality, TVA partnered with other agencies to develop the Southeastern States Air Quality Toolkit. The Toolkit, available on CD through air quality regulators in the region's states or state associations representing local elected officials, includes expert interviews and discussions, database resources and presentation materials that are useful for building support for air quality improvement initiatives from local government and key business leaders. Partners include EPA Region IV, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and the Georgia Department of Environmental Quality.