By Dave Ongie, News Editor
Last September, representatives from the TVA unveiled a supplemental vegetation management program during a public information forum held at Sullivan Central High School.
During the presentation, TVA announced its intentions to trim vegetation that has grown on the exposed lakebed during the extended drawdown of Boone Lake. At that time, homeowners were invited to sign up for an assessment to see if it was possible for them to be added to the TVA’s list of properties slated for trimming this year.
“We got a lot of good input from the public at that meeting, and people started signing up,” said TVA spokesperson Mary Ellen Miller. “If they didn’t see their property on the map for our supplemental vegetation program, then they could sign up and we would go look and assess to see if it was possible to add them to the list.”
Sam Vinson, manager of the Boone Dam Project, recently offered an update on the progress made by a TVA crew that has spent the spring and summer cutting vegetation that could present hazards to boaters in the future. Vinson said the TVA originally planned to cut 500 acres, but demand from the public will likely lead to 650 total acres being cut this year. Approximately 560 acres have already been cut, and work should be completed by next month.
“We are expecting to wrap this up in August for this year,” Miller said. “We are ahead of schedule in the supplemental vegetation management program. The guys are working four days a week, 10 hours a day.”
As the program winds down for the year, Miller offered a couple reminders for homeowners on Boone Lake. First, the TVA is not doing any hand cutting of vegetation. Secondly, those who want to be included in the vegetation management program in the future must reach out to the TVA and request an assessment. Those interested in possibly having vegetation cleared from their private property next year can reach out to Dan Widner at 423.360.3813 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Miller said after completing this year’s scheduled trimming in August, the TVA will reassess the situation next spring and make a decision about what, if anything, to trim. Meanwhile, Miller said the end of the Boone Dam Project is quickly approaching with crews currently working on the cutoff wall, a project that will extend through spring of 2021. At that point, TVA engineers are expected to begin fluctuating the lake level and assessing the situation.
For more information on the status of the Boone Dam Project or to sign up for the monthly newsletter, visit www.tva.com/Newsroom/Boone-Dam-Project.