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Application Instructions

TVA receives a large volume of shoreline construction permit requests. As you submit your request, please be aware that timeframes can extend to 120 days to process your application.

TVA Regional Offices do not accept walk-ins. Meetings are by appointment only. To schedule an appointment or talk with a TVA representative, please call our Public Land Information Center at 1-800-882-5263 or email [email protected].

Online Applications

To help ensure your application is complete please review the steps below and use our online system to submit your permit application. Incomplete applications will be returned. The system provides a way to apply and to pay online using either a credit card, debit card, bank account (ACH), PayPal or Amazon.

If you must apply by mail, complete the application package, and send along with your payment to 400 West Summit Hill Drive, WT 11D-K, Knoxville, TN 37902.

Application Steps

Determine what zone your project is in.

Generally, locations that are allocated as a Zone 1–-Non-TVA Shoreland or Zone 7-- Shoreline Access are eligible for residential shoreline construction. Using the map below (instructions), you can type in the address of your project and determine if it is a Zone 1 (blue) or if the neighboring TVA property is a Zone 7 (yellow).

Please note: Proximity to a Zone 1 or Zone 7 does not guarantee approval for construction. Many factors go into TVA’s decision to approve an application, including the impacts of the proposed construction or activity on the environment or TVA’s programmatic interests and compliance with TVA’s regulations. The only way to know for sure what you can construct is to apply for a Section 26a permit.

View larger map         View example of zones 1 and 7

  Zone 1    
  Zone 7       Click the double arrow icon in the top-left of the map to view the full legend.

Review the regulations applicable to your project.

TVA’s Section 26a regulations contain construction standards for many activities as well as other requirements pertaining to the application process. Once you know you are eligible to apply, you can view TVA’s regulations.

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:

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 representative for more assistance

Before starting, review the checklist to make sure that you have all the required information in order to complete the application. Incomplete applications will be returned.

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.

If you apply online, the system will calculate the applicable fee. Note: Charges will appear on your credit card or bank statement as "REVA". If you must submit an application by mail, please refer to the table below to determine the appropriate fee to include with your application.


On-reservoir application fee for docks, boathouses, floating cabins, or other minor shoreline alterations and on-reservoir application fee for change in ownership of existing permitted facilities (must be built and compliant with previous permit and plans).


On-reservoir application fee for major shoreline alterations such as marinas, community facilities, barge terminals, and bridges. Major applications typically will require payment of fees beyond the initial application fee. Major applications must be submitted with a signed Section 26a Cost Recovery Acknowledgment form.


Off-reservoir application fee for minor or major shoreline alterations such as docks, launching ramps, culverts, and bridges on streams downstream of TVA dams (regulated rivers and streams). Major applications typically will require payment of fees beyond the initial application fee. Major applications must be submitted with a signed Section 26a Cost Recovery Acknowledgment form.

Off-reservoir application fee for new construction, minor alterations to existing construction, or change in ownership of permitted facilities on river or stream reaches that are upstream of the control or influence of TVA’s reservoir system operations.$250
Shoreline stabilization & other types of projects (see below).No fee

TVA waives application fees for certain types of projects, such as applications requesting only shoreline stabilization or fish attractors, state DOT projects, county or municipal road projects, NRCS partnership projects, marina sewage pump out facilities, and public purpose projects. Waiver of fees is at TVA’s discretion. When a federal agency provides financial assistance such as a fee waiver to a public or private entity, it is the responsibility of that entity to ensure that such assistance is not used in a discriminatory manner. Your request must be in substantial compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, as amended, and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

In some instances, the size or scope of a project may require additional fees; if this applies to your project, TVA will contact you. Additionally, a project may require site specific work such as special biological studies, archeological studies or advanced environmental reviews that are not covered by the application fee. If it is determined that detailed work is required, TVA will contact you. Requests for the major shoreline alterations noted in the table above must be submitted with a signed Section 26a Cost Recovery Acknowledgment form.

You’ll need to make a drawing for each facility or activity you are proposing, including vegetation management on TVA property. 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—which you can use as a starting point. Your drawing(s) should meet the following criteria:

  • 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).
  • Describe and draw any proposed vegetation planting, trimming, or removal on TVA property.
  • Indicate the river or reservoir name, river mile, locator landmarks and direction of water flow, if known.

Please attach all drawings in the online application system in either .pdf or .doc format. If you are unable to apply online, you will need to include drawings on paper suitable for reproduction (8 1/2 by 11 inches).

Follow the instructions in the online application system to indicate your location.

If you are unable to apply online, you will need to include 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 the physical address of the requested location, or provide your subdivision name and lot number if a physical address is not available.

You’ll need at least one photograph of the property that shows the location of the proposed structures or alterations along the adjacent shoreline. If there are existing structures on site (whether previously permitted or not), we will also need photos of those. Please attach all photos in the online application system in either .pdf, .jpg, or .tif format. Note: Applications without photos may be returned.

Once all the application requirements have been met, the online application system will walk you through the submission process. Note: You can save your application if you need to complete it later.

Apply online

If you are unable to apply online, fill out the Joint Application Form & Applicant Disclosure Form. Mail your completed application package to 400 West Summit Hill Drive, WT 11D-K, Knoxville, TN 37902.

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 100 days. 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 representative for more information and clarification.