Tims Ford Dam Release Water Quality Improvements
Franklin County, Tennessee
On June 20, 2008, TVA issued a final environmental assessment (EA) and finding of no significant impact for proposed changes to releases of water from Tims Ford Dam. The propose changes are aimed at improving habitat conditions for two endangered species; the boulder darter and cracking pearlymussel. They should also benefit five other endangered species and two species which are candidates for listing as endangered or threatened.
The EA considers two alternatives: 1) the No Action Alternative of continuing to operate Tims Ford Dam under historic multi-use guidelines established when the project was completed in 1970, as modified over the years to include minimum flow releases; and 2) an Adaptive Management for Multi-use Action Alternative. The Adaptive Management alternative is TVA’s preferred alternative and TVA intends to implement it in 2008. Under this alternative, TVA would use a combination of sluicing, spilling, and short generation periods from May through October. These changes would make late spring through early fall releases in the Elk River below Tims Ford Dam more closely resemble the natural free-flowing stream flows and water temperatures needed for improved native mussel and fish habitat.
The water temperatures between Tims Ford Dam and Old Dam Ford Access (Elk River Mile 119) would remain suitable for trout. The levels of Tims Ford Reservoir would not be affected by these proposed changes. Through the chosen Adaptive Management alternative, TVA seeks to balance the goal of improving habitat for endangered aquatic species with the other program interests of flood protection, water supply, water quality, recreation, and power production. The changes are a required response to a recent evaluation and consultation with the US Fish and Wildlife Service on the effects of operating the TVA reservoir system on endangered and threatened species.
Submit comments, requests for more information, and requests for printed copies of the documents to:
Tina M. Tomaszewski, NEPA Resources
Tennessee Valley Authority
1101 Market Street, LP 5U
Chattanooga, TN 37402