tva logoTennessee Valley Authority

Beech Reservoir

Ecological health rating

The overall ecological health condition of Beech Reservoir rated fair in 2012. Historically, ecological health ratings have fluctuated within the poor range. Consistent problems have been high chlorophyll concentrations and low dissolved oxygen levels near bottom. In addition, one or more contaminants often are present in the sediments. The higher score (64) in 2012 was primarily the result of improved chlorophyll concentrations. The score of 42 in 2000 was the lowest recorded for Beech Reservoir. This was the result of several indicators concurrently scoring at the low end of their historical range rather than a substantial change in any one indicator.


TVA monitors one location on Beech Reservoir — the deep, still water near the dam — usually on a two-year cycle.

Beech Reservoir Ecological Health Ratings, 1994-2012

reservoir ratings chart
Click chart for raw data.


The table below shows the ratings for individual ecological health indicators at Beech in 2012. These ratings are briefly explained in the paragraphs that follow.

Ecological Health Indicators for
Beech Reservoir, 2012

Monitoring location

Dissolved oxygen



Bottom life



Dissolved oxygen

As in previous years, dissolved oxygen rated poor. Dissolved oxygen concentrations were low near the reservoir bottom from April through September, with extended periods of time when the bottom water was completely devoid of oxygen.


Chlorophyll concentrations were quite variable throughout the 2012 sampling period, but the average concentration was within the expected range, resulting in a good rating for this indicator. High chlorophyll levels have been a problem in Beech Reservoir, typically resulting in poor ratings.


The fish community rated fair. As in previous years, lack of species diversity — particularly the absence or low numbers of intolerant species — lowered the overall fish community score.

Bottom life

Bottom life rated good. Bottom life in Beech usually rates good compared to other reservoirs in the Tennessee Valley’s Interior Plateau ecoregion.


Sediment quality rated poor because samples contained detectable levels of PCBs and DDE — a breakdown product of the pesticide DDT — and slightly more arsenic than would be expected to occur naturally. Sediment quality has rated fair most years due to chlordane, DDE, or arsenic; however, it rated good in 1994, 1996, and 2002, when no problems were detected.


See definitions of ecological health indicators and monitoring locations.


Fish consumption advisories

Currently, there are no fish consumption advisories for Beech Reservoir. TVA collected channel catfish and largemouth bass from the reservoir for tissue analysis in the autumn of 2006. With the exception of mercury concentrations in largemouth bass, contaminant concentrations were either below detectable levels or below the levels used by the state of Tennessee to issue fish consumption advisories. TVA will collect fish from Beech again in autumn 2010.


lake photo

Beech Reservoir is located on the Beech River in west Tennessee. Beech is one of a cluster of eight small reservoirs located on the Beech River and its tributaries.


More about Beech

General Information

To see monitoring results for other TVA reservoirs, choose from the list below.






Content for id "future1" Goes Here
Content for id "future2" Goes Here
Content for id "future3" Goes Here