As the Boone Dam Project hits the homestretch, the TVA is hard at work trimming trees and undergrowth that have flourished on exposed lakebed during the prolonged drawdown of the reservoir.
The TVA started cutting trees and overgrowth in mid-January, and Mary Ellen Miller – a community relations manager with the TVA – estimates that 25 percent of the trimming has already been completed.
“We’ve done 151 of 589 acres, and those moved along very rapidly,” Miller said last Thursday.
The TVA has a supplemental vegetation management crew working 10 hours a day, four days a week to clear brush from the edges of the lake. The five-man crew recently finished clearing brush from the Geisler Road area near the DeVault Bridge.
As the crew continues its way around the lake, Dan Widener of the TVA is in contact with homeowners around the reservoir to make sure their wishes are respected when it comes to the TVA’s vegetation management service.
“I think there’s a perception that everyone wants their vegetation cut, but not everyone wants their vegetation cut,” Miller said. Dan is our boots on the ground. He goes around and contacts the neighbors ahead of time and he has some door hangers saying that we’re going to be in your neighborhood.
“We work with the neighbors, and we honor their wishes if they do not want their vegetation cuts.”
Those who decline to have their vegetation cut often have their eye on the future. When the waterline returns to its normal summer levels at the conclusion of the project, the brush will make for an attractive habitat for fish. Miller said the TVA is mulching the vegetation it cuts and leaving it in place with the goal of maintaining a top-notch fish habitat for years to come.
While the project got off to a fast start, things will slow a bit as the TVA starts working on shoreline that can only be accessed by water. A pair of cranes loaded a barge into the water last week, and the craft will move along the shore trimming excess vegetation.
Homeowners along the lake who have questions about the vegetation management program can contact Dan Widener at email@example.com or 423-360-3813.