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Section 26a of the TVA Act

Standards for Residential Shoreline Structures

Residential access shoreline

TVA manages the TVA-owned residential access shoreline to conserve, protect, and enhance shoreline resources while providing reasonable access to the water by qualifying adjacent residents. Individual residential landowners wishing to construct facilities, clear and maintain an access corridor, or manage vegetation on TVA-owned lands are required to obtain a permit from TVA before conducting any such activities. To qualify for a private residential structure, an applicant’s property must adjoin TVA shoreland property that falls under one of the following classifications:

  • TVA-owned shorelands over which the adjacent residential landowner holds rights of access to the water.
  • TVA-owned shorelands designated in TVA’s property forecast system as “reservoir operations,” identified in a subdivision plat prior to September 1993, and containing at least one water use facility developed prior to September 1993.
  • TVA-owned shorelands designated in current TVA reservoir land management plans as “open” for consideration for residential water use facilities.

View more information on these residential projects and structures, and related issues:

Channel excavation on TVA-owned residential-access shoreland
Community docks, piers, boathouses, or other water-use facilities
Docks, piers, and boathouses
Flotation devices and material
Grandfathering of preexisting shoreline uses and structures
Land-based structures and alterations
Other water-use facilities
Shoreline stabilization
Vegetation management
Waivers of construction standards

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Residential shoreline management policy

TVA adopted a new, comprehensive Shoreline Management Policy in 1999. (Shorelinks II, PDF file, 730 kb, Adobe Acrobat Reader required). It’s designed to protect critical resources while allowing reasonable residential access to the water.

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Flowage easement guidelines

A flowage easement is the right retained by TVA to flood the land over privately owned shoreline property, subject to the terms of the easement. This section addresses the construction of privately owned residential facilities along or across the shorelines of reservoirs where TVA owns and maintains a flowage easement.

  • Residential structures on flowage easement shoreline: Although ownership of this private shoreline typically extends down to and often under the water, owners are required to obtain TVA’s written approval before building a dock, pier, boathouse, or other water-use structure along this shoreline.
  • Vegetation management on flowage easement shoreline: The removal, modification, or establishment of vegetation on privately owned shoreline subject to a TVA flowage easement does not require approval by TVA. When reviewing proposals for docks or other obstructions on flowage easement shoreland, TVA will ensure that any effects on sensitive plants or other resources will be avoided or minimized.
  • Channel excavation on flowage easement shoreline: TVA review and approval is necessary for channel excavation that will affect privately owned lake bottom subject to a TVA flowage easement and that is to be accomplished either in conjunction with the construction of a shoreline or water-based structure or to provide deeper water access to an existing shoreline structure.

TVA review and approval is not necessary for channel excavation of lake bottom subject to a TVA flowage easement as long as all dredged material is placed above the limits of the 100-year floodplain or the TVA flood risk profile elevation, whichever is applicable.

Any fill material placed within the flood control zone of a TVA reservoir requires TVA review and approval.

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Rivers With Special Construction Standards

Clinch River

French Broad & Holston Rivers

Hiwassee River

Tellico River


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