Environmental Policy and PrinciplesAir QualityLand ManagementWater QualityEnvironmental ReportsEnvironmental ServicesNews ReleasesReturn to Environmental Main

 

Finding of No Significant Impact

Adoption of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Environmental Assessment (EA)

Shawnee Shores Subdivision, Claude J. Pennycuff Jr., Section 26a approval for multiple-slip floating dock at mile 0.2l, Johnson Branch, opposite mile 13.3R,

Big Creek, opposite Mile 83.0R, Clinch River, Norris Reservoir, Campbell County, Tennessee

Background
Alternatives and Impact Assessment
TVA Review
Conclusion and Findings
Conditions of Section 26a Approval

Background

In March 2000, Mr. Claude Pennycuff, Jr., submitted an application for USACE and TVA permits pursuant to Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 and Section 26a of the TVA Act of 1933, respectively, for a covered 20-slip floating dock at Mile 0.2L Johnson Branch, Opposite Mile 13.3R, Big Creek, Opposite Mile 83.0R, Clinch River, Norris Reservoir, Campbell County, Tennessee.

Mr. Pennycuff proposes to place the dock structure in front of Lot #C26, Shawnee Shores Subdivision. The applicant also owns Lot #C28 where he proposes to set the boat slips down on the bed of the reservoir in the winter. In addition, a Section 26a approval is needed for a proposed road, fill, culvert, and electrical service for a 20-site campground on Lots #C11 and #C12 in the same area. TVA retained flowage easement rights over land below the 1044-foot contour, which includes the right to flood the private property and prevent structures, excavation, and fill. There is an existing permitted boat-launching ramp at the proposed summer moorage location on Lot #C26. The purpose of the slips is to support the applicant’s dry boat storage business and, secondarily, to provide mooring for campers at his planned nearby campground.

The proposed community dock and campground improvements were announced through Joint Public Notice 00-35 on April 10, 2000. Responses were received from the Tennessee Historical Commission (THC) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). In addition, a petition was received from the residents of the Shawnee Shores Subdivision.

THC determined that based on the documentation submitted the undertaking will have no effect on properties listed or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) stated that based on their records, it is their belief that there are no federally listed or proposed endangered or threatened plant or animal species in the impact area of the project, and that requirements of Section 7(c) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended, are fulfilled. It further stated that no significant adverse effects to fish and wildlife, their habitats and human uses thereof, are expected to result from the proposed work. The petition from residents of the Shawnee Shores Subdivision expressed concerns about the size of the structure; impacts associated with increased boating traffic, hazardous waste, run-off and emergency spills; and the impacts of a commercial recreation activity on private land in a residential area.

top of page

The applicant filed an amendment to restrictions with the register of deeds withdrawing the lots at issue from the subdivision restrictions and covenants. Several residents objected and filed a lawsuit in the Chancery Court for Campbell County challenging the agreement
On May 8, 2001, the Court dismissed the action. However, in response to his neighbors’ concerns, the applicant has not applied for gas or food services or additional mooring rights. Although commercial, the facility will have characteristics more commonly associated with community slips. The other issues of concern, including commitments to minimize further community disturbance, are discussed in the EA.

After reviewing the concerns expressed by residents, TVA decided to prepare an EA to document its evaluation of these concerns and other potential impacts of its proposed action. TVA worked with the USACE and circulated a draft EA to residents of the Shawnee Shores Subdivision in November 2001. Notice of the availability of the EA to other interested parties was also provided. Two comment letters were received, but no new issues were raised.

USACE completed preparation of an EA and issued a statement of findings and FONSI on June 4, 2002. After review of the USACE EA and FONSI, TVA has determined that the impacts of its Section 26a approval actions on environmental resources are adequately addressed in the USACE EA and FONSI of June 4, 2002, which TVA adopts as its own based upon independent review of the project.

top of page

Alternatives and Impact Assessment

The EA prepared by the USACE evaluates the environmental consequences of three alternatives: No Action (i.e., Deny the Permit), the Applicant’s Final Proposed Action, and the Applicant’s Final Proposed Action with Special Conditions.

Under the No Action Alternative, the community docking facility and campground improvements would not be constructed and the existing residential subdivision would remain unaffected by shoreline construction and campground expansions below the 1044-ft contour. However, the applicant’s purpose and need for the slips and campground improvements would not be met. The applicant could not provide campers and customers with safe, convenient boat moorage facilities. If a multiple-slip structure were not feasible, the applicant would likely have applied for six individual slips in order to provide some boat moorage facilities for his customers. If individual docks were approved, there could be more shoreline disturbance and more boat traffic throughout all parts of the cove.

Under the Applicant’s Final Proposed Action, a 20-slip floating community dock would be constructed on Lots #C26 and #C28 (moored during winter) for use by the applicant’s campground customers and his boat storage customers. The community dock structure would measure 100’ x 136’ with an attached 4’ x 40’ walkway. The dock slips would measure approximately 10’ x 28’ with a 2’ walkway between each slip. The structure would be constructed of treated wood and encapsulated styrofoam flotation. A road, fill, culvert, and electrical service for a 20-site campground on Lots #C11 and #C12 would also be approved and constructed.

top of page

The construction of the boat slips could result in some disturbance of the existing shoreline habitat. However, this disturbance would be minor in comparison to the disturbance that would be caused from the construction of individual docks at six other locations in the cove. Also, the moorage of boats in this area would slightly decrease the water quality from inadvertent gasoline spillage and oil leakage. This decrease in water quality would be minor since spilled substances would quickly dissipate in the lake currents. The presence of the floating boat slips would produce some minor beneficial effects for aquatic organisms by providing additional coverage and shade and providing a surface for organisms to attach. Erosion control measures would be used to prevent silt from the uplands from entering the reservoir and wetland. With the implementation of sediment controls and other best management practices, the project would have minimal aquatic impacts.

Under the Applicant’s Final Proposed Action with Special Conditions, the same facilities and improvements would be approved and constructed as under the Applicant’s Final Proposed Action. However, to protect the environment and reduce the effects on Shawnee Shores Subdivision, special conditions of approval would be included under this alternative. Norris Reservoir is a “no discharge reservoir” for boaters and, therefore, no sewage disposal would occur from boats docked at the facility. The areas of the campground below the 1035-ft contour are within the 500-year floodplain. To avoid flood losses, TVA would require recreational vehicles to be truly mobile and ready for highway use and to require power installations to have a cutoff switch located above the 500-year flood. Campground sewage is to be disposed of in a holding tank above the 1044-ft contour and then sent to a treatment plant for proper handling and disposal. The sewage facility is expected to be approved by the Campbell County Health Department. Some minor impacts to water quality are likely to occur due to the inadvertent spillage or leakage of gasoline and oil, but these minor occurrences would quickly dissipate from the water’s surface.

Although a small wetland is located in front of the proposed campground area, the applicant has agreed to avoid disturbing or altering this wetland. Therefore, there would be no effects on wetlands. In response to the public notice, by letter dated April 14, 2000, THC determined that the undertaking will have no effect on properties listed or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. By letter dated April 12, 2000, the USFWS stated that based on their records, it is their belief that there are no federally listed or proposed endangered or threatened plant or animal species in the impact area of the project, and that requirements of Section 7(c) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended, are fulfilled.

top of page

Navigation impediment was one of the concerns expressed in the petition filed by residents of the subdivision. Corps guidelines allow water use facilities to occupy up to one third of the width of the cove. This structure, which will extend 140’ into the cove and run 136’ parallel, meets this guideline. The applicant has also agreed to set the slips down on the lake bottom in the winter in front of Lot #C28 (reservoir elevations below elevation 990), thereby, avoiding any hazards to navigation when reservoir levels are low. In order to further reduce affect on the residential community, the applicant will not apply for any additional boat slips, floating fuel handling facilities, food service facilities, or other water use facilities fronting property that he presently owns, or has an interest, within Shawnee Shores Subdivision. No Section 26a applications will be submitted requesting TVA approval of water use facilities fronting these lots and no such facilities shall be permitted or located thereon or on any portions thereof. A recorded instrument will provide notice that only such water use facilities on Lots #C26 and #C28 (during winter) will be permitted. This instrument requires that the applicant include such restrictions in any deeds conveying any of these lots and state that if there is a breach of such covenants, approval for the commercial floating boat dock fronting Lots #C26 and #C28 (during winter) shall be revoked by TVA and the dock shall be removed by the applicant or by TVA at the breaching party’s expense.

The USACE EA and FONSI were issued with a condition no navigation impediments be created by the proposed structure and that permitted activities must not interfere with the public’s right to free navigation on all navigable waters of the United States. Also, disturbance to riparian vegetation must be kept to a minimum and that work must be performed during the period of winter drawdown of Norris Reservoir to minimize effects on the aquatic environment. In order to further reduce affects on the residential community, the applicant will not apply for any additional water use facilities fronting that he presently owns within Shawnee Shores Subdivision. No Section 10 or 404 applications will be submitted to USACE requesting approval of water use facilities fronting these lots. USACE also required the development of a recordable restrictive covenant which provided that only such water-use facilities on Lots #C26 and #C28 (during winter) will be permitted.

top of page

TVA Review

TVA reviewed a draft of the USACE EA, provided modifications, and circulated it as a draft for public review in November 2001. TVA has independently reviewed the impacts assessed in the USACE EA and confirmed its findings.

top of page

Conclusion and Findings

TVA has critically and independently reviewed the USACE EA and determined that the scope, alternatives considered, and content of the EA is adequate and that the impacts on the environment have been adequately addressed. TVA has decided to adopt the USACE EA.

TVA has determined that no historic properties would be affected by the project. The April 14, 2000 letter from the State Historic Preservation Officer certified that the requirements of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act had been met.

Based on the EA, we conclude that the Section 26a approvals for a covered 20-slip floating community dock and road, fill, culvert, and electrical service for a 20-site campground at Mile 0.2L Johnson Branch, Opposite Mile 13.3R, Big Creek, Opposite Mile 83.0R, Clinch River, Norris Reservoir, Campbell County, Tennessee, would not be a major Federal action significantly affecting the environment. Accordingly, an environmental impact statement is not required.

Original signed by:
Jon M. Loney, Manager
NEPA Administration
Environmental Policy and Planning
Tennessee Valley Authority

Date: June 6, 2002

top of page

Conditions of Section 26a Approval

Multiple-slip floating dock and campground improvements at mile 0.2l, Johnson Branch, opposite mile 13.3R, Big Creek, opposite mile 83.0R, Clinch River, Norris Reservoir, Campbell County, Tennessee

1. The work must be in accordance with any plans attached to the permit. A copy of the permit must be available on-site and must ensure all contractors are aware of its conditions and abide by them.

2. The permitted activity must not interfere with the public’s right to free navigation on all navigable waters of the United States.

3. Any permitted structures may be subject to damage by wave wash from passing vessels. Issuance of a permit would not relieve the applicant from taking all proper steps to ensure the integrity of the structure and the safety of the boats moored thereto from damage by wave wash and the applicant shall not hold the United States liable for any such damage.

4. The disturbance to riparian vegetation must be kept to a minimum during construction.

5. The proposed work must be performed during the period of winter drawdown of Norris Reservoir in order to minimize adverse effects to the aquatic environment.

top of page

6. Applicant shall not apply for any additional boat slips, floating fuel handling facilities, food service facilities, or other water-use facilities fronting Lots 11, 12, 16, and 20 or any other waterfront lots or portions thereof that he owns within Shawnee Shores Subdivision (the “Lots”) as of the date of issuance of TVA Section 26a approval for water-use facilities fronting Lots 26 and 28 (during the winter). Prior to such approval, the applicant shall furnish TVA with sufficient evidence of ownership of the Lots and of Lots 26 and 28 (collectively “All of the Lots”). Applicant shall have a legally recordable instrument prepared and executed by himself and any others having an ownership interest in All of the Lots, which provides that in exchange for TVA’s approval of water-use facilities on Lots 26 and 28, that the owner(s) agree(s) on behalf of himself (themselves), his (their) heirs, successors, and assigns, as covenants running with All of the Lots, that no 26a applications shall be submitted to TVA requesting approval of water-use facilities fronting The Lots and that no such facilities shall be permitted or located thereon or on any portions thereof. Said instrument shall also provide that only such water-use facilities of the type currently applied for on Lots 26 and 28 will be permitted and located thereon or on any portion thereof. This instrument shall require that the applicant include such restrictions in any deeds conveying All of the Lots and state that if there is a breach of such covenants, approval for the commercial floating boat dock fronting Lots 26 and 28 (during the winter) shall be revoked by TVA and the dock shall be removed by the applicant or by TVA at the breaching party’s expense.

7. Applicant will anchor the slips in front of lot #26 only when the reservoir is at or above elevation 990’. When the reservoir is below 990’ applicant will set the slips down on the reservoir bottom in front of lot #28.

8. Any construction activities conducted in the area shall comply with TVA Standard Best Management Practices 6a, 6d, 6e, 6f, 6g, 6h, and 6i.

9. A small scrub-shrub wetland is present below the 1020-foot contour elevation (normal summer pool) in the head of the cove adjacent to the proposed campground. Applicant will avoid disturbing, removing any vegetation, or altering this wetland.

top of page

Note: To obtain further information or a printed copy of the USACE Environmental Assessment, please contact:

Stanford E. Davis, NEPA Specialist
Tennessee Valley Authority
400 West Summit Hill Dr., WT 8C
Knoxville, TN 37902-1499
865-632-2915
E-mail: sedavis2@tva.gov