Public Notices

Nashville District initiates scoping to evaluate potential effects of proposed removal or modification of three dams on Little River

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District
Published Feb. 21, 2023
Expiration date: 3/24/2023
This is a map of the Little River in east Tennessee where the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District is evaluating the effects of a proposed removal or modification of Townsend Dam, Perry’s Mill Dam, and Rockford Dam. The stream is in the Fort Loudoun Lake watershed. (USACE Map)

This is a map of the Little River in east Tennessee where the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District is evaluating the effects of a proposed removal or modification of Townsend Dam, Perry’s Mill Dam, and Rockford Dam. The stream is in the Fort Loudoun Lake watershed. (USACE Map)

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District is initiating scoping under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to evaluate potential effects of the proposed removal or modification of three dams on the Little River in East Tennessee, near the cities of Townsend and Rockford, in Blount County, TN. The three dams, starting upstream are the Townsend Dam, Perry’s Mill Dam, and the Rockford Dam.

The Little River is in East Tennessee within the Fort Loudoun Lake Watershed. The Little River drains parts of Blount, Knox, and Sevier counties. The majority of the Little River is within Blount County. The Little River originates in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on Clingman’s Dome at over 6,600 feet in elevation and flows 60 miles through the cities of Townsend, Alcoa, and Maryville. It drains a 380-square-mile area, eventually draining into Fort Loudoun Reservoir. The Little River is the largest local tributary to Fort Loudoun Reservoir. The three dams are the only structures on the little river preventing it from being free-flowing and fully traversable for mobile aquatic species. The Little River has high aquatic diversity and many species of concern including state and federally listed species of fish and mussels. The goal in removing or altering the dams would be to restore natural hydrologic, hydraulic, and fluvial-geomorphic conditions to the river and river passage to aquatic species.

The USACE study will evaluate various measures to include removal or modification of the structures. Other measures that would be included in the study include habitat enhancement (native plantings, stabilization), both in-stream and terrestrial or riparian habitat; recreational features such as boat launches, foot trails, educational signage, picnic tables, etc.; invasive species removal or management; and sediment removal or dredging.

By way of this letter, the Corps is soliciting public and agency comments concerning environmental or socioeconomic issues that should be addressed during the NEPA process. We encourage comments not only about the immediate project area, but also of plans or proposals for any other development that may impact or influence project resources. This letter also serves to initiate the public involvement requirements of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended. Section 106, implemented by regulations at 36 CFR 800, requires the Corps of Engineers to consider the effects of its undertakings on historic properties. If required, appropriate architectural and archeological investigations would be conducted within those areas affected by the proposed activities and resulting findings would be coordinated with the Tennessee State Historic Preservation Officer, Federally Recognized Tribes, and other consulting parties.

Comments may be submitted within 30 days (not later than March 24, 2023) to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District, 110 9TH AVENUE SOUTH, ROOM A-405, Nashville, TN, 37203, or electronically to CorpsLRNPlanningPublicCom@usace.army.mil. For additional information regarding the proposed project, please contact Chip Hall at (615) 736-7666.

Sincerely,

Jamie James

Chief, Project Planning Branch