The summer heat came early to east Tennessee. That means the Tennessee Valley Authority’s aquatic plant management teams are already out on the water surveying public access areas of Chickamauga Reservoir.
Dr. Brett Hartis, TVA aquatic plant management program manager, said, “We will begin implementation of our aquatic plant management program on Chickamauga for 2017 during the week of June 26 – 30.”
According to Hartis, TVA manages aquatic plants in developed public-access areas like boat ramps, swim beaches, and courtesy piers on its reservoirs on an as-needed basis when recreational use and/or access become seriously hindered. “Our goal is to provide access for everyone to our reservoirs through a balanced approach to controlling nuisance aquatic plants. We do our best to preserve the positive aspects of aquatic plants, like providing fish and wildlife habitat while attempting to negate the negative impacts, like hindering recreational use by the public.”
Keeping developed public areas weed free is a top priority for Hartis.
A 2017 University of Tennessee study estimates that recreation on the Tennessee River generates 130,000 jobs and the value of the Tennessee River reservoir system for the region is nearly $12 billion.
“The TVA reservoirs are worth about $1 million on average per shoreline mile,” says Hartis. “There is a lot of pressure on us to manage aquatic plants to balance the revenue and jobs the river brings to local communities.”
TVA survey crews are out weekly to identify and prioritize areas in need of management. Management will occur in the following areas during the week of June 26 through June 30. Management in these areas is dependent on weather conditions.
Chester Frost Park – Ramps (two) and swim area, Courtesy Dock (four), Fishing Piers (two)
Dayton Municipal Park – Ramp and marina
Eldridge Ramp – Ramp
Harrison Bay State Park – Day use areas (three), Fishing pier, ramp and camping area
Mud Creek – Ramp, Fishing Pier, TWRA ramp
Possum Creek – Red Fez dock and ramp, Lutheran camp
Soddy Creek – Holly Park public ramp, Fishing pier, and day use area
Thatch Road Ramp – Ramp and pier
Wolftever Ramp – Ramp, pier, and fishing pier
TVA needs the public's help to control aquatic plants and keep invasive species out of TVA Reservoirs.
According to TVA, non-native aquatic plant species like hydrilla and milfoil, were introduced into the Tennessee Valley by hitching rides on boat trailers or by people dumping fish tanks or water garden plants into the river.
To help TVA control invasive plants:
- Keep it Clean—Remove all plant material from boats, trailers, bilges, live wells and any other equipment. This will prevent troublesome aquatic species from being introduced into other TVA reservoirs.
- Native Water Gardening Only—Please plant only native species around shorelines. While non-native species like ornamental lilies and water hyacinth are beautiful, they will quickly spread if introduced into the river.
- Drain and Dry—When visiting reservoirs with known invasive plants, make sure all equipment is dry and free from fragments. Even completely dry fragments have the potential to grow once submersed again.
- No Dumping!—Please refrain from dumping unwanted aquarium or water garden plants into nearby streams and rivers. Dispose of any unwanted plants in the garbage.
Learn more about aquatic plants and how to fish them in the Tennessee River system at tva.com.