Ecological health conditions in Parksville Reservoir rated “fair” in 2017, scoring slightly lower than in recent years due to lower scores for dissolved oxygen and chlorophyll. Parksville rated “fair” most years prior to 2006 then rated “good” to high “fair” through 2014. Improvements in bottom life contributed to the higher overall ecological health scores. The lower reservoir score in 1999 was due to concurrent low scores for bottom life and fish.
The ecological health of Parksville Reservoir has been monitored using the same methodology since 1994. Ecological health evaluations focus on five indicators: dissolved oxygen, chlorophyll, sediment quality, benthic macroinvertebrate community (bottom life), and the fish assemblage. TVA monitors one location on Parksville Reservoir, the forebay (Ocoee River Mile 12.5), near the dam.
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>72 = Good
59-72 = Fair
<59 = Poor
In 2017, dissolved oxygen rated “fair” due to an area of low dissolved oxygen (<2 mg/L) near the reservoir bottom in late autumn. Dissolved oxygen also rated “fair” in 2005 and 2006, but it typically is assessed a “good” rating.
Chlorophyll rated “fair” in 2017, largely due to an elevated concentration in April. This indicator typically rates “good” for Parksville Reservoir. It should be noted that chlorophyll concentrations in Parksville are assessed relative to expectations for the Blue Ridge Ecoregion, which has naturally low nutrient concentrations. Therefore, chlorophyll concentrations are expected to be much lower in Parksville than in other Tennessee Valley reservoirs located outside the Blue Ridge Ecoregion.
The fish community rated “fair”, consistent with most years prior to 2017. A moderate number of fish species and low catch rates are common to Parksville, due in part to the low productivity (i.e., low nutrient and chlorophyll concentrations) of the system. In 2017, a total of sixteen species of fish was observed. Spotted bass and redbreast sunfish were the most abundant species collected. Walleye was first observed in Parksville during the autumn 2014 sample and was again observed in 2017. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency also stocked muskellunge (“muskie”) in Parksville during the summer/fall of 2017 but none were collected.
Bottom life received a “good” rating in 2017. Ratings for this indicator have improved over the years. Bottom life has rated either “good” or at the upper end of the “fair” range since 2005 compared with either “poor” or low “fair” ratings in earlier years. Improvements in ratings have been the result of increases in the number and variety of organisms collected.
Sediment quality remains the most important ecological health issue for Parksville Reservoir. Past mining practices in the Copper Basin left a legacy of high concentrations of several metals: arsenic, copper, iron, lead and zinc. In addition, elevated amounts of PCBs have historically been found in the sediments. Concentrations of PCBs and several metals appear to be decreasing through time, although concentrations remain above suggested background levels.
TVA maintains a program to examine contaminants in fish fillets from TVA reservoirs and their major tributary streams on a rotational basis. The data collected from this program is distributed to the state officials who are responsible for placing or removing fish tissue consumption advisories on those bodies of water. For information on advisories currently in effect for Parksville Reservoir, visit the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency.