Shoreline Construction

Want to build a dock for your lake house? Want to build a marina? Whether your proposed project is as simple as a little boat slip or something as large a barge terminal, you’ll need to apply for permission per Section 26a of the TVA Act.

Section 26a requires that approval be obtained before any construction activities are carried out that may affect TVA’s management of the Tennessee River watershed—including its reservoirs and tributaries.


TVA reviews approximately 2,000 construction proposals each year to ensure that shoreline construction activities are compatible with all aspects of TVA’s integrated management of the river system, including flood control, land use, recreation, power generation and water quality management.

Most docks, piers, boat slips or boathouses, decks and shoreline and stream bank stabilization efforts are considered minor construction projects. Commercial marinas, community docks, barge terminals, utility crossings, bridges, culverts, roads, wastewater discharges, municipal or industrial water intakes, sewage outfalls and dredging are examples of major construction projects.

You may also need additional permits from your state's office of water quality (see links at right) and/or the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). TVA and the USACE have a joint application form for your convenience. You can access that form on the How to Apply page.

If you need a permit from your state's water quality office, TVA may not be able to issue your 26a permit until you obtain your water quality permit or a waiver. Please contact your state's water quality office early in the process to minimize delays in receiving your 26a permit. You may also call your Regional TVA Watershed Office for more information. 

No matter how large or small your project, applying for a 26a permit online is easy. Here’s how to get started now. For further information, see Shoreline Construction Frequently Asked Questions. Not interested in applying online? You can apply by mail, too.

NOTE: Permit approvals for construction under Section 26a are considered federal actions and are therefore subject to the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act and other federal laws.

Contact Us

For more information or clarification, email us at, call us at (800) 882-5263 or contact your local regional watershed office.


Floating Houses Initiative

TVA has initiated an environmental review of floating houses and non-navigable houseboats mooring on TVA reservoirs out of concern for safety, sanitation, water quality and fair use of public lands and waters. Learn more.


State Water Quality Offices

Alabama Department of Environmental Management

Georgia Environmental Protection Division

Kentucky Division of Water

Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality

North Carolina Division of Water Quality

Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation

Virginia Department of Environmental Quality

US Army Corps of Engineers