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Transmission System Routine Periodic Vegetation Management Fiscal Year 2024

On October 19, 2023, Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) issued a final environmental assessment (EA) and finding of no significant impact (FONSI) for its fiscal year 2024 proposal to perform routine vegetation management on rights-of-way that have been previously and continuously maintained on a recurring cycle. 

Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) and the Act’s implementing regulations promulgated by the Council on Environmental Quality ([CEQ]; 40 Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] 1500-1508), federal agencies are required to evaluate the potential environmental impacts of their proposed actions.  This EA was prepared to assess the potential impacts of TVA’s Proposed Action on the environment in accordance with CEQ’s and TVA’s procedures for implementing NEPA (18 CFR 1318)(TVA 2019).

The EA evaluates the site-specific effects of vegetation management performed in each fiscal year on about one-third of the TVA transmission system within 12 managed sectors. The management of vegetation within the rights-of-way on a recurring cycle is needed to ensure the transmission system can continue to provide reliable power and to prevent outages related to incompatible vegetation. The EA tiers from the programmatic Transmission System Vegetation Management environmental impact statement (PEIS) released in 2019 in eliminating repetitive discussion of issues already addressed in the PEIS by summarizing and incorporating by reference the discussion from the same. A Record of Decision was issued in October 2019 indicating TVA’s preferred vegetation management program would be to manage the full extent of the ROW to a meadow-like end-state across its entire transmission system. This would entail removing incompatible vegetation and managing the ROW as a mix of herbaceous and low-growing shrubs. Vegetation management would utilize mostly herbicides (90%). Other methods include mechanical (6% - i.e., brush hogs, equipment mounted saws) and manual (4% - i.e., chainsaw, handsaw). Maintenance of trees would be assessed using aerial inspection, ground inspections, and as-needed field inspections. Compatible trees and shrubs would be allowed in areas maintained actively by others. As per the Sherwood v. TVA court-ordered injunction, only trees identified as an immediate hazard would be cleared until the injunction has been lifted by a court of competent jurisdiction.

A draft EA was released for public comment on September 11, 2023. The availability of the draft EA was announced through area media outlets and the draft EA was posted on TVA’s website. Comments on the draft EA were accepted through September 25, 2023, via TVA’s website, mail, and email.

Related Documents

Final Environmental Assessment

Finding of No Significant Impact

Draft Environmental Assessment


More information on this environmental review can be obtained from:

Anita Masters
NEPA Project Manager
[email protected]
1101 Market Street, BR 2C
Chattanooga, TN 37402