Boone Lake owners fear debris could pose a safety hazard when lake level rises, want TVA to act | WJHL

JOHNSON CITY, Tennessee (WJHL) – The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) said it would take action to remove trees and other debris from Lake Boone.

This commitment was underscored in a meeting with Boone Lake landowners this week.

Pheben Kassahun found that some feared the debris could create a major safety risk when the lake begins to rise next year.

Since TVA discovered a sinkhole at the base of the Boone Dam and drastically lowered the lake level by initiating a seven-year repair, forests have emerged on the lake bed blocking at least 20 coves where people have their homes.

“These people will not have access to the lake. They pay property taxes; hefty property taxes associated with their properties on the lake, ”said owner Tom McKee.

Tom McKee lives on the lake. He thinks it’s not just TVA’s duty to repair the dam.

“Get the lake back to how it was when it started,” McKee said.

TVA insists that removing debris wherever possible has always been a priority.

However, earlier this week, the Boone Dam Repair Coalition (BDRC), a group of landowners formed after the lowering of the lake, expressed concern about TVA’s updated plan to use herbicides instead of physically removing vegetation: what the project manager said Dam of Boone, Sam Vinson, said to be the best option.

“There are coves that we can’t access so that’s true with the equipment. We try to spray a lot of these creeks, but there are creeks that we can’t get into, ”said Sam Vinson. “We have also provided owners through our website with an owner’s guide with contact information on what they can do on their private properties for their vegetation. So if TVA can’t reach a private landowner due to rocky terrain or soft soils, they can actually see what they can do for their own vegetation.

“It’s surprising, very surprising for the BDRC that TVA comes out in a document like this and says that they are going to leave these dangers and that they cannot eliminate them,” said the president of Boone Dam Repair. Coalition, Mark Joseph.

Then, on Thursday, TVA met with government officials and officers from the Boone Lake Association. In a statement to news channel 11, TVA declared “it is to develop a long-term plan to manage the risks in the lake and in the creeks”. The agency said it plans to remove the debris in partnership with the Boone Lake Association.

“It involves the engagement of the TVA, the Boone Lake Association and most certainly the engagement of the owners,” Val Kosmider told Kassahun.

Val Kosmider is the immediate chairman of the pass for the Lake Boone Association (BLA). He said he was satisfied with the discussion that took place with TVA and the stakeholders on Thursday.

“As part of the TVA good neighbor policy and the responsibility of the Lake Boone Association, we want to work with the owners to understand what they specifically need,” Kosmider said. “What we would like to do, I think, is organize a smaller one, of what we call the Lake Boone clean-up – organize a series of small clean-ups by community or by homeowners’ association.”

The president of the Boone Dam Repair Coalition said he was encouraged, but he wants to see more details.

“Overall, it seems that TVA has changed its mind. They are definitely interested in the safety of people using the lake, ”said Joseph. “We hope to work with them in implementing their plan. “

TVA said the goal is to bring the lake back to normal levels over the next 24 to 36 months. The agency said it was on track to start raising the lake’s level next spring.

In other BLA news on Thursday night, the Sullivan County Commission voted 19-0 for $ 62,500 for a Sullivan County skimmer to help clear debris from the lake. BLA is hoping the City of Bristol and the City of Kingsport will agree to split $ 62,500 between the two cities to purchase a skimmer that would help clean up the Sullivan County side of Watauga Lake.

Washington County is on board to clean up its side of Watauga Lake.

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Susan W. Lloyd

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