TVA officials say they are ahead of schedule when it comes to the initial phase of the supplemental vegetation management plan.
When the plan started, TVA identified more than 600 acres of targeted area along Boone Lake to be mulched.
“As of today, we’ve cut about 575 acres of space, so we’re about 85%,” said Boone Dam Repair Principal Project Manager Sam Vinson, “maybe a little over 85% complete.”
Back in May, we learned the initial phase of the plan was more than 50% complete, meaning 35% more ground was covered in a little more than a month.
One thing that has helped crews is the use of a barge to deliver mulching equipment, allowing them to get to harder to reach properties.
“The barge is actually large enough to load the equipment on it, which consists of skid-steers with forestry mulchers on the front of them,” said Vinson. “We’ve got a couple of different pieces of equipment, different mulching heads depending on the terrain, the application.”
Last September, a public information fair was held to receive feedback on areas to mulch.
“We’ve actually added over 100 acres since public input,” said TVA Boone Dame Public Relations Manager Mary Ellen Miller.
Miller said it is a balancing act when trying to determine which areas need to be addressed.
“The fishermen want the vegetation, they love the vegetation for future fish habitat,” she said, “at the same time you have people that look at the vegetation and say, ‘Oh, I want that cut.'”
“We have to basically make contact with each property owner, knocking on doors, making phone calls to find out their wants and needs,” said Vinson.
Vinson said they expect to have the initial phase of the vegetation management program complete by August.
The next phase will address unreachable areas and areas of regrowth starting with next year’s growing season.
If you live around Boone Lake and would like to have vegetation mulched, you can send a request to email@example.com.
The underground repair portion of the Boone Dam Project is expected to be completed in Spring of 2021, followed by a series of testing phases.
Normal operation is expected to get underway in July of 2022.
You can also find more information about the Boone Dam Project at TVA’s website.