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Statutes > Tennessee > Title-70 > Chapter-5 > 70-5-113

70-5-113. Reelfoot Lake Water levels Water level management plan.

(a)  As used in this section, unless the context otherwise requires:

     (1)  “Free” means the flow of water not under control, able to move in any direction, and not held or confined by an artificial gate or structure;

     (2)  “Lake” means a standing body of open water that occurs in a natural depression fed by one (1) or more streams from which a stream may flow, that occurs due to the widening or natural blockage or cutoff of a river or stream, or that occurs in an isolated natural depression that is not a part of a surface river or stream. “Lake” also includes a standing body of open water created by artificially blocking or restricting the flow of a river or stream;

     (3)  “Natural ordinary high water mark” means the line on the shore established by the fluctuations of water and indicated by physical characteristics such as a clear, natural line impressed on the bank, trees, shelving, changes in the character of the soil, destruction of terrestrial vegetation, the presence of litter and debris, or other appropriate means that consider the characteristics of the surrounding areas;

     (4)  “Natural ordinary low water mark” means the line that constitutes the usual and common or ordinary stage of the river or lake, when the volume of water is not increased by rains or freshets, nor diminished below such usual stage or volume by long continued drought to extreme low water mark; and

     (5)  “Navigable” means capable, in the ordinary stage of the water, of navigation ascending and descending, by such vessels as are employed in the ordinary purposes of commerce, whether foreign or inland, and whether steam or sail vessels.

(b)  Notwithstanding the provisions of this section or any law or regulation to the contrary, as first established by the Reelfoot Lake commission of 1925, it is hereby declared that the natural water levels of the navigable stream Reelfoot Lake are as follows:

     (1)  The natural ordinary low water mark is two hundred eighty-two and four-tenths feet (282.4¢) mean sea level, which is also the top of the twenty (20) floodgates at the Reelfoot Lake spillway dam;

     (2)  The natural full pool level is two hundred eighty-three and six-tenths feet (283.6¢) mean sea level; and

     (3)  The natural ordinary high water mark is two hundred eighty-five feet (285¢) mean sea level.

(c)  Notwithstanding the provisions of any law or regulation to the contrary, there is hereby established the water level management plan for Reelfoot Lake. The waters of Reelfoot Lake shall flow freely or naturally across the top of the twenty (20) stoplog gates or floodgates at the Reelfoot Lake spillway dam until the lake reaches an elevation of two hundred eighty-three and six-tenths feet (283.6¢) mean sea level. Once the lake exceeds such natural full pool level, the twenty (20) stoplog gates or floodgates at the Reelfoot Lake spillway dam shall be opened to bring the lake back to its natural full pool level of two hundred eighty-three and six-tenths feet (283.6¢) mean sea level. In bringing the lake back to its natural full pool level, the Reelfoot Lake Barr fishway, or radial water control spillway, may also be used.

(d)  The water management plan established in subsection (c) shall remain in effect until a fifty (50) year comprehensive management plan for Reelfoot Lake is developed by the executive director of the agency and until enactment of such legislation as shall be necessary to implement such management plan.

(e)  The general assembly hereby expresses its general approval of the fifty (50) year comprehensive management plan for Reelfoot Lake developed by the executive director as required by the provisions of subsection (d), and the agency is authorized and directed to promulgate the plan, or a similar fifty (50) year comprehensive management plan, as a rule in accordance with the provisions of the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act, compiled in title 4, chapter 5. Upon the effective date of such rule, the management plan contained in the rule shall supersede the provisions of subsection (c) and any other subsections of this section that may be in conflict with the rule.

[Acts 1986, ch. 670, § 2; 1989, ch. 369, §§ 1, 2.]