Watts Bar Dam

Watts Bar Reservoir Land Management Plan

Update: January 26, 2021

TVA is updating the 2009 Watts Bar Reservoir Land Management Plan. Updates include land use allocation changes for eight parcels affecting 231.2 acres and new parcel descriptions for the 367 parcels on Watts Bar Reservoir. The updated plan amendment is scheduled to be approved this summer.

Reservoir Land Management Plans (RLMPs) effectively guide land use approvals, private water use facility permitting, and resource management decisions on TVA-managed public land. The Watts Bar RLMP was approved by the TVA Board of Directors in November 2009.

Watts Bar Reservoir is an impoundment of the Tennessee River formed by Watts Bar Dam and Lock, which is located at Tennessee River mile 530. The reservoir flows from the northeast to the southwest through Loudon, Meigs, Rhea and Roane counties in east Tennessee.

Watts Bar Reservoir is popular for boating, fishing, swimming, camping and other outdoor activities. A scenic overlook near the dam provides visitors with a panoramic view of the lake. Forest City Trail was one of the first entirely accessible trails built by TVA. It is a 0.3-mile paved loop trail located at the Watts Bar Dam day use area. It is a designated National Recreation Trail.


The scope of the 2009 Watts Bar Reservoir Land Management Plan (RLMP) was the 16,036 acres of TVA-managed land lying above full-pool elevation. Nine parcels (184 acres) impacted by the December 2008 Kingston ash spill were excluded from the 2009 RLMP and TVA proposed to consider their allocation at another time.

In January 2009, TVA began developing a recovery plan that would address remediation of the area affected by the ash spill, including any areas within the 184 acres that were impacted. The appropriate future uses of 143.6 acres of the 184 acres excluded from the 2009 RLMP were determined during the ash recovery planning process and allocations for these parcels are included in the 2012 Kingston Recovery Project Land Management Plan (LMP) which supplements the 2009 RLMP. In the 2012 LMP, TVA indicates the allocation of the remaining 40.6 acres excluded from the Watts Bar RLMP will be driven by business or resource needs.

In 2011, TVA completed an environmental assessment that evaluated the potential impacts of the allocation of 143.6 acres of reservoir property that was not considered in the 2009 Watts Bar RLMP.  The 143.6 acres include reservoir shorelands that front adjacent property that TVA acquired in the vicinity of Kingston Fossil Plant after the ash spill.

The Watts Bar RLMP and the Kingston Recovery Project LMP contain a regional overview, information about the environment around the reservoir and descriptions of each parcel of land. The reservoir property is divided into parcels, and each parcel is assigned a single land use allocation zone.

Descriptions data-sf-ec-immutable="" of the allowable land uses within each land planning zone are available here.

Reservoir Land Management Plans

2009 Watts Bar Land Management Plan and Environmental Review

2011 Kingston Recovery Environmental Review

2012 Kingston Recovery Project Land Management Plan


Individual parcel allocations can be examined on the maps below:

Download 2009 RLMP Maps (PDF)

Download 2012 RLMP Maps (PDF)

How to Use the Viewer Map (PDF)


Land Allocation Acreage

The TVA lands around Watts Bar Reservoir have been allocated for certain land uses as indicated in the table below. The table represents the land use allocations in the 2009 RLMP, the 2012 LMP, and reflects the 2011 Natural Resource Plan, which determined the scope of reservoir lands planning has been limited to TVA reservoir properties. Therefore, 2,796.1 acres of power plant properties included in the 2009 RLMP were excluded when determining the Zone 2 acreage below.

Allocation Designation1 Acreage
Zone 2Project Operations1,696.4
Zone 3Sensitive Resources Management3,748.3
Zone 4Natural Resource Conservation3,753.9
Zone 5Industrial391.5
Zone 6Developed Recreation1,552.3
Zone 7Shoreline Access2,241.6
 Total2 13,384.0

¹Zone 1 is Non-TVA Shoreland with TVA land rights and does not change as a result of the lands planning process.

²Total acreage does not include Parcel 153 (40.6 acres) excluded after the Kingston ash spill and Parcels 190, 302, 303, 304, 305 (2,796.1 acres of power plant property).