TVA’s Prescribed Burn Program Supports Environmental Stewardship

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Intentionally setting fires on the 293,000 acres of public land managed by the Tennessee Valley Authority may seem at odds with TVA’s mission of environmental stewardship. But the proper use of prescribed burns is actually a valuable tool for protecting and improving natural resources, officials said.

"Prescribed burning offers many benefits to productive and responsible land stewardship,” said R.J. Moore, a senior specialist in TVA Natural Resource Management for the Western Region.

“These controlled fires can help maintain and establish wildlife habitat, reduce leaf litter and ground cover that fuel wildfires, stimulate growth of targeted vegetation and recycle nutrients back into the soil,” Moore said. “This is really a cost effective method to promote quality wildlife habitat."

Burn teams from TVA and local, state and federal agencies prepare extensive plans for each prescribed burn. They identity the types of vegetation to be burned and why, describe the chosen burn method, chart weather conditions and include maps that show possible wind patterns and fire control lines (streams, paved roads and man-made fire lines). TVA receives proper permitting and notifies local, county and state authorities, as well as local residents, before a prescribed burn.

“Safety is the top priority. A prescribed burn, or controlled burn, is supposed to be just that – controlled,” said David Brewster, TVA manager in Natural Resource Management for Western Operations.

“The plans we create and the safety equipment we use are vital to a successful burn, but the trained members of our teams make the difference,” he said. “Once a burn begins weather conditions are regularly monitored and our teams pay particular attention to wind and humidity.”

TVA has safely conducted prescribed burns on more than 250 acres this year, Brewster said.

The final sites scheduled to receive treatment this year are near the Muscles Shoals reservation in Colbert County, Al.; the Raccoon Mountain Pumped Storage Facility reservation in Marion County, and the Magnolia Combined Cycle Plant reservation in Benton County, Ms.


Appalachian Trail Produces Deer Poacher And Lost Dog

TWRA wildlife officers working along the Appalachian Trail in the Cherokee National Forest near Butler charged a hunter with violations related to illegal deer hunting, then rescued a lost family pet in the same area.  Carter County Wildlife Officer Dennis Ward has documented illegal ATV tracks on Iron Mountain for several years, and while scouting out the area this year, ... (click for more)

Drought-Induced Peril Prompts Rescue Of Endangered Fish

The fishes that live in headwater streams are like the scrappy underdogs of the aquatic world. They’ve adapted to hang tough in low-oxygen conditions and to make it through the occasional drought. But even Rocky Balboa couldn’t go 15 rounds — let alone months at a stretch — without the occasional water break. Thanks to a drought of historic proportions, the few creeks ... (click for more)

Valerie Bray Pleads Guilty In Death Of Well-Known Runner Cameron Bean

A long-time Moccasin Bend Hospital employee pleaded guilty on Tuesday morning in connection with the death of well-known runner Cameron Bean. Ms. Bray pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide and leaving the scene of an accident with a fatality involved. Defense attorney Bill Speek said she faces one-two years on each charge at a sentencing hearing on Feb. 1 at 1:30 ... (click for more)

Officer Who Was Shot Returned Fire; Is Recovering Well; Shooter Still On Loose

Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher said Monday morning that the officer who was shot three times on Thursday is recovering well.   Chief Fletcher said the officer was wearing a bullet-proof vest and one bullet hit the vest, which protected him during the shooting.  The officer was able to return fire, although Chief Fletcher would not comment on how many bullets ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Couldn't Manage Public Education

I have been reading the buzz about Signal Mountain and other small municipalities considering a move to form their own school district within their municipal boundaries.  It is quite the comedy hour considering the notion that small cities that for decades could not even manage small sewer systems or 911 districts, are somehow going to do a better job with public education ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Abolish Bail For Poor

Our terribly overcrowded Hamilton County Jail may get some help from an unsuspected corner – the Obama administration is tackling the fact that right now over 450,000 people are in our country’s jails because they are too poor to pay for bail. It is a violation of the Constitution to “punish people for their poverty.” As the Eighth Amendment provides, “… excessive bail ought not ... (click for more)