Dredges and Excavations

1. Purpose


This guidance applies to requests to excavate land to produce new shoreline areas and for dredge requests of underwater areas to improve boating access (see §1304.207 and §1304.303 for the Section 26a regulations regarding channel excavation).

2. Definitions

For the purpose of this guideline, the following definitions apply:

Dredge: A water-based activity; removal of material from an underwater location, primarily for deepening waterways and creating boat access channels.

Excavation: A land-based activity; removal of material from land, primarily for creating navigable waters that would create new shoreline. This includes excavation on all reservoirs, above and below the June 1 flood guide elevation, when the water is at or near the January 1 level. 

3. Review of Requests

TVA will evaluate the effects of excavations and dredges on navigation, flood control, and public land. TVA will conduct environmental and programmatic reviews of the affected areas, including review of the spoil disposal area for all requests.

A. Dredging of TVA fee-owned land (Table 1)

  1. TVA will consider requests:
  • In accordance with Section 26a regulations for commercial navigation purposes and for other federal agencies (e.g., U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for channel maintenance of federal mooring facilities, U.S. Coast Guard for placement of navigation aids).
  • For residential boating access channels in accordance with Section 26a regulations (i.e. less than 150 cubic yard criteria)
  1. TVA will not consider requests:
  • To dredge material within 25 feet of the shoreline (June 1 flood guide elevation) for the purposes of creating new shoreline.

B. Excavation on TVA fee-owned land

  1. TVA will not consider requests:
  • To create new shoreline.
  • For recessed boat wells.
  • For inland harbors.

C. Dredging or excavation on private land or within flowage easement properties (Table 1)

These actions are not subject to TVA review unless they are associated with a Section 26a permitting activity, such as the construction of a private water-use facility, because dredging/excavation does not constitute an obstruction as defined in Section 26a of the TVA Act. These activities could be subject to Section 26a permitting if the applicant plans to spoil the excess material within the flowage easement area, 100-year floodplain, or flood control storage zone, whichever is applicable. However, where excavations on private land occur, TVA will require acquisition of flowage easement rights over private land, at the owner’s expense. TVA will determine the appropriate flowage contour to be acquired.

TVA will consider requests:

  • In accordance with Section 26a regulations.
  • For recessed boat wells.

Table 1. Section 26a Permits for dredges.

What are TVA’s land rights at site of requested dredge?Does TVA review and issue Section 26a permit?
TVA fee landYes
TVA flowage land (only a dredge requested)No**
TVA flowage land (dredge is requested in conjunction with dock, seawall, etc.)Yes
No TVA fee or flowage land (i.e. original river/stream channel) only a dredge is requested *No**
No TVA fee or flowage land (i.e. original river/stream channel, dredge is requested in conjunction with dock, seawall, etc.) *
Yes

* Few requests are received to dredge in the original river or stream channels as the channels are generally deep and away from the shoreline.  Adjacent property owners mostly wish to increase the depth for boat access near their property at the shoreline.
** If the dredge material is to be deposited on TVA flowage easement area, 100-year floodplain, or flood control storage zone, then a Section 26a permit is required.