Special Construction Standards for the French Broad and Holston Rivers

Because of conditions particular to these rivers, the following construction standards and guidelines for private water use facilities are in effect between mile 3.7 and mile 32.3 of the French Broad River in Jefferson, Knox and Sevier counties, Tennessee, and between mile 4.4 and mile 52.3 of the Holston River in Jefferson, Knox and Grainger counties, Tennessee.

These guidelines are taken from an environmental assessment done by TVA. See link at bottom of page to the entire assessment.

The proposed guidelines deal with dock standards, streambank stabilization and vegetation management. They have been designed to reduce the potential for adverse effects on the habitat of the snail darter, pink mucket and other sensitive aquatic species while allowing restricted but reasonable access to the water.

Construction Guidelines

  • A maximum allowable footprint of 400 square feet is prescribed for all private water use facilities in this reach of the French Broad and Holston rivers. All docks, boat slips or other water use facilities associated with a particular lot shall be contained within a 400-square-foot rectangle or square area at the riverward end of the access walkway that extends from shore to dock. The space occupied by the access walkway is not included in the 400-square-foot allowance.
  • Private water use facilities in areas continuously exposed to strong river currents and drifting logs and other debris shall be restricted to the area immediately adjacent to the riverbank. In no case shall the combined length of the private water use facility and access walkway extend more than 25 feet from the shoreline, or one-tenth the distance from the bank at maximum operating level to the opposite shore, whichever is less. Opposite shore is defined as including the opposite bank or edge of the closest island.
  • Both fixed and floating water use facilities may be permitted (fixed piers, floating dock and fixed or floating single boat slip). All fixed facilities shall have deck elevations at least 24 inches above the maximum operating water level. To the extent practicable, structures shall be constructed during low water conditions with a minimal amount of substrate disturbance.
  • A well-graded Class I or Class II (50- to 125-pound nominal size) rock with a mixture of smaller rock is the preferred method for installing riprap. Filter fabric shall be placed between the rock and the protected slope.
  • Loss of vegetation shall be minimized and trees on the riverbank may not be removed.
  • Unless demonstrated to be impracticable, boat launching ramps shall be constructed at an angle perpendicular to the stream, or angled toward downstream.

Special Conditions

  • Water use facilities may not have a roof or side walls.
  • Water use facilities may not have any enclosed storage spaces.
  • All anchoring cables or spud poles shall be anchored in a way that does not accelerate bank erosion. Anchoring to trees is prohibited.
  • The method of shoreline stabilization, in the order of preference, will be: a combination of riprap and live plantings (biostabilization), riprap revetment or gabions.
  • Guidelines developed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (1987) will be used to design protection strategies for bald eagles.
  • To minimize impacts to riparian areas and associated habitat of sensitive species, a vegetation management plan shall be prepared to restore affected vegetation.

For more information concerning these special construction guidelines, contact Robert G. Farrell at 865-632-1300.


For more information, see the documents below:

Final Environmental Assessment (PDF)
Finding of No Significant Impact (PDF)


To obtain a printed copy of the document and attachments, contact James F. Williamson at [email protected] or 865-632-6418.