US Army Corps of Engineers
Nashville District

Front page of the 2014 Old Hickory Lake Shoreline Management Plan

Shoreline Management Plan

The Old Hickory Lake Shoreline Management Plan provides policies and guidelines for the effective long-range management of finite shoreline resources.  In spite of increasing recreational demand, the total amount of public land and water area remains unchanged.  Sound management is therefore necessary to ensure continuing quality use of the lake for present and future generations.

The objectives of the shoreline management plan are to protect and restore the natural environmental conditions of the shoreline, to establish and maintain acceptable fish and wildlife habitat to preserve aesthetic qualities, and to promote the safe and healthful use of the lake and the surrounding public lands by the general public.

The extensive residential development of private property adjoining the public lands around the lake has resulted in a heavy demand for private boat docks, residential mowing privileges, and other private exclusive uses of the shoreline.  The ownership of property adjoining the shoreline does not imply special rights or privileges to use public property.  The shoreline management plan contains guidance, which balances private use of the shoreline while providing natural environmental conditions for the use and enjoyment of the general public. 

You should check with the Old Hickory Lake Resource Manager’s Office before making a final decision regarding the purchase of adjoining private property with the intent of constructing a dock or performing any work on public property.  Although the property may adjoin a shoreline area where permits for residential mowing or private docks are normally issued, there are other conditions and requirements that must be met before a permit can be issued.  There are several areas where private docks cannot be permitted.  

 

Erosion Control

Old Hickory Lake is one of the most popular lakes in the southeastern United States. If you have ever been fortunate enough to enjoy the beauty of Old Hickory Lake by boat you have likely noticed erosion along the shoreline. Many people that have been around the lake for a long time have noticed a significant loss of public land to erosion. When the shoreline erodes, the soils are washed into the lake causing shallow depths that can impede navigation and degrade water quality. Erosion is primarily caused by wave action, water runoff, and inadequate shoreline stabilization. Healthy River and stream banks have abundant vegetation with intertwining roots, which bind the soil and create a natural protection barrier. The loss of vegetation along the shoreline speeds up erosion, which results in the degradation of fish and wildlife habitat. Many adjacent landowners are taking action to prevent the further loss of public lands by implementing erosion control methods. One of the most prevalent forms of erosion control is the placement of riprap stone along the eroding shoreline. Bioengineering is another effective form or erosion control that uses natural, living materials. As it’s name implies, it brings together biological, ecological, and engineering concepts to vegetate and stabilize an eroded shoreline. It is vitally important that bank stabilization is done in accordance with the permit conditions to protect the waters and to minimize impacts to the area. Bank stabilization projects on Corps property require a permit. If you would like more information on erosion control, please contact our office. You may also visit our erosion control demonstration site at the Walton’s Ferry Recreation Area for different ideas and an informational bulletin board on approved erosion control techniques.

Old Hickory Lake Green HouseGreenhouse Project

The Old Hickory Lake Staff is excited to announce that we will be continuing our greenhouse initiative. This year there will be a wide variety of native plants to choose from, no matter what your taste.  There will be shrubs such as button bush and chokeberry, small flowering trees such as red buds and flowering dogwoods, hardwoods like red oaks as well as our state tree, the tulip poplar. Not only is the purpose of this service to help landowners who may not meet their minimum density or boundary planting requirements as stated in the Shoreline Management Plan, but it also promotes shoreline stabilization, water quality, and wildlife habitat. Planting native deep rooted plants can provide a form of natural erosion control and can limit the effects of erosion and in some cases, help to reverse the process. Native plants also help to filter out particulates in storm water, such as oil and dirt particles, which enhances water quality. Native shrubs provide a great form of   wildlife nesting habitat as well as an escape from predators. As a reminder, you must be located with an area allocated as Limited Development or Mowing Only in order to plant or maintain public property adjacent to Old Hickory Lake and remember that only native plants are to be planted. Trees or shrubs can be picked up at our    office Monday through Friday from 7:30 am to 3:00 pm. If you have any questions please feel free to give us a call at (615) 822-4846 or (615) 847-2395.

Think Native to Encourage Biodiversity

With spring just around the corner, its time to brake out that shovel and plenty of elbow grease. Now is the right time to be thinking about improving your landscape and encourage biodiversity. When thinking about what to plant in your landscape, think native.

Since European settlement, exotic plants have been introduced purposely or accidentally. Though they may be beautiful, some exotic plants out-compete and displace native species. Native plants increase biodiversity and provide for a balanced and healthy ecosystem.

The resource manager and staff at Old Hickory Lake are committed to preserving the natural heritage of our public lands. To encourage biodiversity and the integrity of the landscape, the staff at Old Hickory Lake maintains a native plant nursery. The plants are available to adjacent property owners to Old Hickory Lake.

For more information about native plants of Middle Tennessee or about Old Hickory Lake, please contact the Old Hickory Lake Resource Manager's Office at (615) 822-4846 or (615) 847-2395.

SCA students set fish attractors on Old Hickory Lake with Christmas trees donated through the Christmas Tree disposal program (Courtesy Asset)Environmental Restoration and Conservation Program

In all aspects of natural and cultural resources management, the Corps promotes awareness of environmental values and adheres to sound environmental stewardship, protection, and compliance and restoration practices. The Environmental Restoration and Conservation Program is a management strategy designed to improve fish and wildlife habitat on the project through partnership projects with volunteers, non-profit groups, adjacent property owners, and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. Our goal is to apply the best management practices that will enhance and restore habitat and in some instances limit public access to protect historical, natural, and cultural resources. This program takes into consideration critical habitat for endangered, threatened, and candidate species as well as non-threatened species. It also addresses the identification, removal and control of invasive exotic pest plant species.

Ninety-one sites, which include over 800 acres, have been identified for restoration and conservation projects. Signs designating the locations as “Wildlife Management Area” are placed at the sites. Maps showing the location of project sites are maintained at the Resource Manager’s office.

Project site evaluations consider the integration of diverse natural resource components of the lake such as fish, wildlife, forests, wetlands, grasslands, soil, air and water with public access and use. Approximately four to six projects are done each year. These areas are important to population growth, food and water resources, shelter, breeding and rearing sites. Several islands are nesting sites for colonies of black-crowned night herons, blue herons, and cattle egrets. Nest and colony abandonment increases with increased human activity. These islands are marked with buoys and/or signs to reduce human interference. The Resource Manager’s staff will work closely with the State Ornithologist of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency to develop prescriptions that improve habitat for migratory birds.