TVA receives national habitat conservation award

From Staff Reports

   Tennessee Valley Authority's Reservoir Releases Improvements Program recently received national recognition for contributions to wildlife habitat conservation at the Wildlife Habitat Council's 13th Annual Symposium held in Washington, D.C.
   The tailwaters below 16 dams managed by TVA have been enhanced for wildlife as part of TVA's Reservoir Releases Improvements Program. The program led to the placement and management of innovative aeration systems and minimum flow operations at 16 facilities throughout the Tennessee River System.
   The project benefits aquatic insect populations and fish species such as rollers, darters and shiners. An effort currently is under way to re-establish a self-sustaining lake sturgeon population in the upper Tennessee River system. About 800 of these prehistoric fish were released below TVA's Douglas Dam in July 2000 and more will be released over the next eight to 10 years. Project partners credit TVA's tailwater quality improvements with making reintroduction of the fish possible.
   The cutting-edge aeration systems associated with the program improved dissolved oxygen levels in more than 300 miles of rivers below 16 TVA dams, which are equipped with a variety of tools to increase dissolved oxygen content.
   Minimum flow systems, which maintain a minimum amount of flow through the dam when generation is not scheduled, is another aspect of the program. Constant water has enhanced conditions for aquatic life in an additional 180 miles of tailwater.
   Bill Howard, council president, said, "Companies and communities are working together to sustain natural resources through good stewardship and science-based, cooperative solutions. These ecosystem management techniques result in many benefits, including improved biodiversity conservation and opportunities for environmental education programs."
   TVA's program is only the third corporate programmatic initiative certified through WHC's Corporate Wildlife Habitat Certification/International Accreditation program.