What's going on at Boone Lake?

Jessica Fuller • Updated Aug 7, 2018 at 7:32 PM

While progress is about halfway finished at Boone Dam, there are still events happening around the lake through the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and other organizations throughout the community:

The future of fish:

Boone Lake’s future fish should find themselves well-furnished thanks to efforts from the TVA, Boone Lake Association and a local Boy Scouts of America chapter.

A grant from TVA funded a venture to remove more than 1,500 tires from the lakebed last year. While tires are fish-attractors, the rubber had degraded, and volunteers had to brainstorm another, more eco-friendly idea for the lakebed.

The rubber tires have been replaced with concrete reef balls dotted throughout the exposed lakebed to benefit the lake’s inhabitants; several species of fish, including largemouth bass, bluegill and other sport fish; in addition to invertebrates, a good food source for smaller fish. The reef balls will also not deteriorate and stay in place where they are positioned.

Boy Scout Troop 387 from Kingsport assisted in the tire-cleanup and removed about 200 tires from the reservoir.

“The Boone Lake Association appreciates the support from TVA in carrying out our mission of keeping Boone Lake clean,” BLA President Val Kosmider said. “This tire removal project accomplished that and the installation of reef balls will benefit future generations of fishermen and women on the lake.”

ROV offers a promising report:

Remote operated vehicles are used in oceans around the world to conduct underwater inspections. Recently, a small sub made its rounds in Boone Lake to inspect the concrete portion of Boone Dam below the waterline.

The ROV provided researchers with real-time video footage and a 2-D sonar scan that could show deficiencies in the trash racks or gate guides. It also looked at silt levels on the dam and examined where the embankment meets up with the concrete dam. The sub also looked for cracking or concrete flaking, known as spalling, on every joint of the dam.

“There were no issues with trash and the concrete dam was in outstanding shape,” TVA Dam Safety Civil Inspector Eric Edwards said.

TVA + BrightRidge = 117 households served

In July, volunteers from TVA’s Gray Service Center served the community alongside BrightRidge at Watauga Square Apartments and the John Sevier Center. To give back and care for the community, volunteers from both organizations served food at the Mobile Food Pantry Program of Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee served 117 households and individuals.

The Mobile Food Pantry provides regular distributions of food and grocery products to thousands of people who are most in need, and will return to Johnson City Aug. 27.

Investing in the Future:

Last month during Kingsport’s Funfest, a 3D printer was on display at the Mini Maker Faire to help students and parents to learn more about the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math professions that are instrumental in the dam’s repair process.

Boone Dam Quality Manager Lenny Peterson was on hand to answer questions about the project.

“It’s an excellent opportunity to interact with the public and to share about the Boone Dam project with them,” he said. “I think seeing the model helps people to understand the safety impact this project brings to the region. It was also great to talk with the youngsters about the kinds of work we do at Boone Dam and maybe inspire some of them to work in STEM fields one day.”

Email Jessica Fuller at [email protected] Follow Jessica on Twitter @fullerjf91. Like her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jfullerJCP.

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