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Public Land Protection Policy

Because of the importance of TVA public land to the region and to its mission of service, it is TVA’s duty to prevent abuse and destruction of the public land it manages and take necessary steps to remedy unauthorized uses and encroachments. The Public Land Protection Policy lays the foundation for TVA to take necessary steps to strengthen its education and outreach efforts regarding protection of public land.

Policy Governing the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Protection of Public Land and Resources

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has been charged by Congress with improving navigation, providing flood control of the Tennessee River, providing for the proper use of marginal lands and other purposes. Congress also tasked TVA with land and shoreline management responsibilities, including acquisition of reservoir areas and protection of watersheds.

TVA has custody and control of approximately 293,000 acres of federally owned reservoir property and approximately 470,000 acres of inundated property on behalf of the United States of America and administers various land rights over privately-owned land for the purposes of managing the TVA reservoir system (collectively referred to as TVA public land). In TVA’s Land Policy, the TVA Board of Directors (TVA Board) recognized the importance of TVA public land and TVA’s duty to manage it wisely for present and future generations. Through TVA Board support and approval of the Shoreline Management Policy; the Environmental Policy; the Natural Resource Plan; various individual reservoir land management plans and the Comprehensive Valleywide Land Plan; and the Land Policy as well as TVA’s Section 26a regulations, TVA manages its public land in a way that is sustainable while balancing competing demands.

TVA public land and the reservoir system provide protection for the abundant wildlife of the region; promote world-class biodiversity of plants and animals; support clean water and a thriving fisheries; offer a look into the lives of our ancestors through the rich historical and cultural resources of past generations; are a sanctuary for those seeking open space, quiet solace in nature or recreational opportunities; play an integral part in the unified development of the Tennessee River and flood control objectives; and attract economic development and investment in the region, improving the lives and well-being of its residents. Various academic studies have shown tangible value in TVA’s management of land and water resources and the significant benefit to the people of the region. The TVA Board in a 1936 report to Congress recognized the importance of reservoir property when it referred to these lands as “a protective belt” and described the permanent control of which as “a matter of critical importance in the interest of reservoir protection.”

TVA public land and resources also offer opportunities for partnerships and collaborative management with local communities and state and federal agencies. Relationships with these communities and agencies are critical for the success of TVA’s land management and stewardship objectives.

The TVA Board recognizes challenges associated with activities that abuse or privatize TVA public land or destroy the important resources on that land. Such activities degrade the quality of the TVA public land, resources and the user experience. While some individual impacts may seem inconsequential, the cumulative effects threaten TVA’s ability to fulfill its vital management responsibilities.


Because of the importance of TVA public land and resources to the region and to TVA’s mission of service, TVA’s policy is to manage its lands and resources to protect the integrated operation of the TVA reservoir and power systems, to provide for appropriate public use and enjoyment of TVA public land and to provide for continuing economic growth in the Valley. Further, it is TVA’s commitment to prevent abuse and destruction of TVA public land and resources and take necessary steps to remedy unauthorized uses and encroachments. To that end, the TVA Board supports broad efforts to better protect TVA public land and resources, including the development of land management regulations.