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Shoreline Permits

At TVA, our goal is to protect the shoreline of the Tennessee River watershed while supporting recreational access to the waters we all enjoy. That’s why Section 26a of the TVA Act requires that a permit be attained before any shoreline construction activities—such as building a dock or stabilizing the shoreline—begin.

TVA continues to receive a large volume of shoreline construction permit requests. The high number of projects and the required federal regulations have slowed the process beyond the typical 100 day timeline to receive a final permit. Please be aware of this as you submit your request.

Also be aware that TVA field offices remain closed. You may submit your application via USPS. We are happy to answer your questions at the Public Land Information Center.

TVA must be able to ensure that your project is in alignment with our integrated management of the river for multiple public benefits, which include recreation, flood control, navigation, power generation and water quality. The Section 26a permitting process—explained in the Permit Tutorial video—helps us do that.

About the Process

Shoreline Permitting Infographic vertical

For a detailed walk-through of the shoreline permit application process, see our application instructions.

To find out more about Section 26a and how it applies to your permit situation, read our FAQ.

Are you exempt? Probably not. Learn more about Section 26a jurisdiction.

Is your dock grandfathered? Maybe. Find out more in our FAQ.

PLEASE NOTE: You may also need additional permits from your state’s water quality office. If you need a permit from your state’s water quality office, TVA may not be able to issue your 26a permit until you obtain that permit or a waiver. Please contact your state's water quality office early in the process to minimize delays in receiving your 26a permit.

Meet Our Watershed Representatives

Ember Anderson - A Day in the Life of a Watershed Representative

Natural Resources is more specialized now than when watershed representative Ember Anderson was hired two decades ago. She focuses on ensuring safe use of TVA public lands, such as replacing trail stairs.

Levi Yancey - A Day in the Life of a Watershed Representative

Levi Yancey, watershed representative for the Valley’s Western Region, sees a direct impact from the work he does to manage TVA land including invasive vegetation control.

Ken Weisz - A Day in the Life of a Watershed Representative

Watershed representative Ken Weisz, who has issued more than 2000 permits, suggests that thinking both technically and creatively is helpful when envisioning shoreline construction projects.

Ryan Cook - A Day in the Life of a Watershed Representative

Ryan Cook, watershed representative for western North Carolina, reminds applicants to have their permit in hand before purchasing any materials or installing anything like a dock.

Abbie Casey - A Day in the Life of a Watershed Representative

Watershed representative Abbie Casey, who reviews 100 applications a year, has some tips for success: submit a complete application package and be flexible. “It can mean the difference in an approval or a denial.”

Jori Chatman - A Day in the Life of a Watershed Representative

As a watershed representative, Jori Chatman enjoys interacting with applicants. “I simply talk to them the way I want to be talked to. I try to be straightforward with information.”

Emily Collins - A Day in the Life of a Watershed Representative

When friends or family ask Emily Collins what she does for a living, the watershed representative keeps it simple. “Rocks and docks,” is her initial reply. But it’s a bit more involved than that.