Application Instructions

TVA is improving the online application system to serve you better! As part of the improvement, the current system has been temporarily retired. Please see our FAQ page for more information. You can find instructions to apply by mail below. If you have additional questions, please contact TVA’s Public Land Information Center at (800) 882-5263 or

To apply via traditional mail, follow these simple steps:

1. Review the regulations applicable to your project.

TVA’s 26a regulations contain construction standards for many activities as well as other requirements pertaining to the application process. You can view TVA’s regulations here.

If you’re planning a project on the Clinch River, Hiwassee River, Tellico River, French Broad or Holston River, special construction standards may apply to you. Access them below:

 2. Make a drawing of your project.

You’ll need to make a drawing for each facility or activity you are proposing. We’ve provided a library of downloadable drawings for common types of facilities and activities—including boat slips, docks and boathouses as well as shoreline stabilization and vegetation management projects. Your drawing(s) should meet the following criteria:

  • Be prepared on paper suitable for reproduction (8-1/2 by 11 inches)
  • Identify the kind of structure and its purpose or intended use
  • Show the principal dimensions, size and location in relation to the shoreline and adjacent property boundaries
  • Show the height of the structure above the water
  • Show both the plan view (the project as viewed from above) and the elevation view (the project as viewed from the side).
  • Indicate the river or reservoir name, river mile, locator landmarks and direction of water flow, if known.

3. Identify the geographic location of your project.

Provide a map that clearly shows the location of the proposed facility. An 8.5- by 11-inch copy of one of the following is ideal: a subdivision or tax parcel map, a portion of a U.S. Geological Survey topographic map or a portion of an online map. Be sure to include your subdivision name and lot number if applicable. Also include the map number or name, if available. Contact the appropriate TVA Regional Watershed Office for more assistance or if you have questions about the location of your project.

4. Take a picture.

You’ll need at least one photograph of the property that shows the location of the proposed structures or alterations along the adjacent shoreline (a photo of existing facilities is also helpful, and necessary if you’re applying for a transfer).

5. Fill out the application forms.

You will need to fill out two forms, the Application Form and the Applicant Disclosure Form. [Click here for the joint application form and click here for the applicant disclosure form.]

6. Establish whether you’re on-reservoir or off-reservoir.

On-reservoir activities include Section 26a permit requests across, along or in TVA reservoirs where water elevations are influenced by the operation of any dam. On-reservoir areas will generally equate to the areas where TVA has obtained land and/or land rights.

Off-reservoir activities include Section 26a permit requests on all other perennial rivers and streams in the Tennessee River Watershed. Off-reservoir areas will generally equate to the areas upstream of the influence of any TVA dam as well as downstream of TVA dams where TVA has not obtained land and/or land rights.

Uncertain? Contact the appropriate TVA Regional Watershed Office for more assistance

7. Include the correct fee.

Pursuant to federal regulations, applicants are required to reimburse TVA for the cost of processing a Section 26a permit application (18 C.F.R. Part 1310). This practice ensures that the people who directly benefit from the permit are responsible for the cost of the service provided. TVA has implemented an application fee schedule to facilitate this reimbursement.

These fees are based on the cost to TVA of providing this service. Paying the fee does not guarantee approval of the permit, and the fee will not be refunded if the application is not approved.

A single permit application may include more than one construction activity at the same location for a single fee (e.g., a dock and bank stabilization). If another application is later made for additional activities or to modify previous permits, a separate fee will be charged for each new application.

Activity Fee

On-reservoir construction of docks, boathouses or other
minor shoreline alterations

On-reservoir change-of-ownership of existing permitted facilities $250
Off-reservoir construction or minor alterations, or transfer
of permitted facilities

In some instances, the size or scope of a project may require additional fees; if this applies to your project, TVA will contact you.

8. Mail your application package to TVA.

Review this checklist to be sure you have included all required information. Be sure to include the correct application fee, address your application to the Address your application to the appropriate TVA Regional Watershed Office, and drop your package in the mail.

9. Let the process unfold.

Once your application is received, we will review it to make sure it is complete and that the correct fee is included. TVA will contact you about your application, let you know if additional information is needed and will usually conduct a site visit as part of the review process. For minor construction activities we strive to issue permits within two months. If the application is not complete or other delays occur, the review will take longer. Other delays include modifications to the project after the application was submitted, potential impacts to sensitive resources, TVA’s programmatic interests (navigation, flood control, etc.) or unresolved violations and encroachments. Projects that require a land use agreement with TVA also take longer to issue.

NOTE: Site-specific conditions may impact the review and approval of your application. Applying does not guarantee approval. TVA may change its application fees and/or its Section 26a rules and procedures from time to time. Contact your local TVA Regional Watershed Office for more information and clarification.