TVA and TWRA are working together on Boone Lake boat ramps and fish habitats

(WJHL) – TVA and TWRA are working together on Boone Lake boat ramps and fish habitats.

Currently, the Pickens Bridge boat ramp is the only functional ramp on Boone Lake, but the two agencies are working together to improve or add other ramps to make lake access easier over the 5-7 year repair project at Boone Dam.

Bucky Edmondson with TVA says that even though the lake is down, there is still a lot of the lake to enjoy, ” It’s still a huge lake out there, a lot of recreation area. Gotta be a little bit careful, it’s not the lake you are used to. If you are out there in the summer in other years, it’s gonna look a little different, gonna be a few more hazards out there that you aren’t really used to. It’s about 10 feet lower than it would be at winter level.”

Once permits are granted, Edmondson hopes to be moving dirt by Oct. 1, “We’re in permitting, we’re getting our core permits, our TDEC permits, been out on public notice, going thru the environmental reviews, and some folks are getting a kick out of that we’re having to go thru all the permitting that they have to go thru when they’re putting in their own personal boat docks. We’re right in the middle of that and hope to be finished up soon.”

Matthew Cameron with TWRA says they want to be ready to help with the fish population on the lake once repairs on the dam are complete, ” We’re primarily concerned with restoring the fish population once the lake is re-flooded. Right now, fishing is great out there, anglers are reporting great days every time they go out but over a 5-7 year period, the fish population will suffers a bit because of that. And so our goal is, when the lake is re-flooded, to have that lake ready to produce as many fish naturally as it can. And if the fish population doesn’t recover on its own, then we can stock it from our hatcheries. But mother nature is a lot better than us, one female fish can do about all work of our hatchery system so if conditions get right, favorable for that, they’ll spawn, reproduce, and then the young fish need a place to go. They need cover to hide in so that they are not all feasted upon by the larger fish that are out there.”

Cameron says there is a lot of vegetation already growing, but it may not be the right kind, “Over that period of time (5-7 years), there is going to be a lot of vegetative growth, trees and grasses, lots of things are going to sprout and grow and we’re seeing that now if you’ve been out there, the folks that have seen that, it’s everywhere. But we want desirable vegetation to be grown as well. A lot of that stuff, once it’s flooded, it wouldn’t last very long, we’re gonna go in and try to put in things like willows, button-bush and cypress. Things are gonna last and can survive under flooded conditions so it’ll be there for years to come.”

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