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Greetings, River Neighbors!

January is the coldest month of the year for most areas east of the Rockies, and this year has been no exception. It’s also been another winter with a lot of rainfall—thanks to active weather patterns in January and early this month, rainfall and runoff totals in the Tennessee Valley continue to track above normal.

As I write this, we are about 145% above normal for rainfall. TVA is utilizing available flood storage in tributary reservoirs like Blue Ridge, Fontana and Hiwassee to help manage water levels in the rivers below those dams. As rainfall conditions shift, TVA manages flows through the system to maximize water quality, water supply, navigation, hydropower and recreation.

Speaking of recreation-- it’s hard to believe we’re only weeks away from warm weather arriving and our managed campgrounds opening up. While we wait for spring, there’s never a bad time to go for a walk or bike ride on TVA’s public lands. Despite the cold, we’ve been busy this winter—we just opened a new, much-anticipated loop on a popular bike trail. There’s some refreshed content for you to check out on too: we’ve listed some beautiful winter walks and with leaves off the trees it can be a wonderful time to look for birds. (This weekend, much of the nation will be glued to that certain big football game, but if football is not your thing, consider learning about the Superb Owl instead!

It may not be on a football field with millions of spectators, but I can tell you that I’m very proud of the outstanding teamwork done by our Natural Resources and River Management teams every day. Stay safe and enjoy the beauty of winter.

Allen Clare
VP, TVA River & Resources Stewardship

The Superb Owl

They’re “big game” hunters and they go fiercely for the “goals” (mice and other prey). But we’re not talking about football players. While millions tune in to that particular football game this week, take a moment to find out more about the beautiful “Superb Owl” species that live close to you in the TVA region!
The "Superb Owl" - In Time for the Big Game (


Look for the different birds of winter

Bare trees make winter an excellent time for birdwatching. Visit our page where you can find a whole collection of tips, tricks and information to spot beautiful birds, even in your own back yard.

A long winter’s nap redefined

Who’s hibernating in the Valley this winter? If you said, “Bears,” this piece, is for you. Discover eye-opening information on hibernation vs. a different state of dormancy called torpor. Plenty of data on this topic has been gathered, but more is needed before biologists are willing to go out a limb with absolutes.

TVA biologists hook a 53-inch lake sturgeon

TVA landed a number of lake sturgeon on a set of trotlines near Kingston Fossil Plant as part of an annual sturgeon survey designed to monitor and map the overall health of the fishes in the Tennessee River. This native species was overfished and it vanished from the Tennessee River system in the 1950s.
TVA Biologists Hook 53-inch Lake Sturgeon

New multi-use trail loop opens at Loyston Point

Options for a wintery hike or bike ride just got greater in East Tennessee with the opening of a new 6.7-mile, multiuse trail at Loyston Point Recreation Area on Norris Reservoir. The twisty, singletrack trail is designed with natural elevation changes and exposed rocks and roots to provide moderate challenges for hikers and bikers who want more adventure.
New Rocky Trail Provides Adventure, Challenge (

Species to look out for

Take a nature walk anywhere in the Tennessee Valley and one of the first things you’ll notice is the vast array of wildlife. The biodiversity is beautiful; it’s what makes the Valley such a coveted place to visit, live and take in the sights.  At the same time, there are also many non-native and invasive species of plants and animals that have entered the southern U.S. forestlands. Non-native species are found in areas where they do not occur naturally but rather were introduced deliberately or accidentally by human activities.
Species to Look Out For (

Winter hiking trails beckon

You don’t have to backpack or camp overnight to experience the quiet beauty of a winter woods. Cold weather hiking is a delightful way to view the subtle color pallet of nature and the seemingly endless vistas through tree branches left bare by the wind, rain and snow. These three TVA trails make bundling up worth the effort.
Scenic Winter Hikes (

26a permitting: a day in the life

If you enjoy reservoirs like Hiwassee, Fontana and Parksville/Ocoee, you may have crossed paths with TVA Watershed Representative Ryan Cook. With 700 shoreline-permitting applications to his credit, Cook is dedicated to making life better for the people of the Valley.  Find out how he thinks many of TVA’s resources would have fared without Section 26a Permitting and its devoted team.
Ryan Cook - A Day in the Life of a Watershed Representative (

Tennessee RiverLine

January marks the first anniversary of TVA’s transformational investment in the Tennessee RiverLine. The University of Tennessee, Knoxville and TVA are Principal Partners in what has become known as America’s Next Great Regional Trail. View their inspiring, ongoing accomplishments!
 Tennessee RiverLine

Explore TRV

Sometimes, planning a winter trip is best done backwards by finding a wonderful B and B, cabin, resort, or perhaps a historic railroad hotel. Second, discover what nearby experiences await. Whether it’s a special Valentine’s weekend or a jaunt featuring culture, nature, history, music, food, and more, your Tennessee Valley adventure begins at Explore TRV.

Tennessee Valley Marinas and Campgrounds

Campground and marina owners/managers get little winter relaxation. They use this slow time to make upgrades or repairs and attend shows offering valuable information to individuals connected to their busy, outdoor businesses. TVA exhibits at some of these events to share knowledge, learn from others, and spread the word about Clean Marinas and Camp-Right Campgrounds,” says Watershed Outreach Coordinator RaSharon King.

The Wayback Machine

Winter birdwatching has been a popular hobby for a long time. These birders keep watch at Land Between the Lakes near Golden Pond, Kentucky, in February, 1971.

Explore with the Tennessee River Valley MapGuide
Looking for new places to explore by foot, car or boat? Check out the Tennessee River Valley MapGuide. There are plenty of things to see and do close to home.

Got a question? Pick the PLIC
TVA’s Public Land Information Center (PLIC) is your single source for answers to questions about a variety of public land topics including recreational opportunities and shoreline permits. Call (800) 882-5263 between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET or submit your question using the form found here.

Ongoing maintenance:
Keep up with road closings, bridge repairs, all kinds of things here:

See past issues of River Neighbors here.

Boone Dam Project
We publish this newsletter to keep TVA's stakeholders informed about the programs and projects associated with TVA’s environmental stewardship, recreation and river management efforts.

Our mailing address is:
Tennessee Valley Authority
400 West Summit Hill Drive
Knoxville, TN 37902

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