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Photo by Kevin Calhoon
|Standing on Chickamauga Lake dam looking north.|
At river mile 470.0 on the Tennessee River (Nickajack Lake) below Chickamauga
Dam (river mile 470.8), upstream to river mile 480 near Dallas Bay, and Wolftever
Creek from its mouth upstream to Savannah Bay including all water and shore areas,
islands, adjoining public lands (among them Booker T. Washington State Park, Harrison
Bay State Park, and Chester Frost County Park), and the CSX railroad bridge (river
mile 470.8), Hamilton County, Tennessee.
Physiographic Area: PIF 13 (Southern Ridge and Valley); BCR 28 (Appalachian Mountains)
Chickamauga Dam--Lat. 352210N Long. 0845429W
Booker T. Washington State Park--Lat. 350629N 0851043W
Harrison Bay State Park--Lat. 351010N Long. 0850715W
Chester Frost County Park--Lat. 351102N Long. 0850824W
Dallas Bay--Lat. 351103N Long. 085098W
Savannah Bay--Lat. 350915N Long. 0850324W
Elevation Range: 633' - 784'
633' Chickamauga Lake Dam
784' Booker T. Washington State Park
696' Harrison Bay State Park
715' Chester Frost County Park
784' Dallas Bay
682' Savannah Bay
USGS 7.5' quads: East Chattanooga, Daisy, Snow Hill
Description: This site, from about a mile downstream from Chickamauga Dam (Nickajack Lake) to about ten miles north of it at Dallas Bay is heavily residentially developed but contains a CSX railroad bridge, public areas, and open waters, including two state parks and a county park. The CSX railroad bridge, lies just downstream from Chickamauga Dam spanning over Nickajack Lake. Booker T. Washington State Park, lies on the west bank of the lake, river mile 473.5. This 353-acre park is named in honor of Booker Taliagerro Washington who was born into slavery at Hale's Ford, Virginia, but with great determination secured an education and became president of Tuskegee Institute, a black organization for higher education. The park contains large fragments of hardwood forest, some sizeable Virginia Pine stands, and riparian forest. Harrison Bay State Park, lies as well on the west bank of the lake upstream from Booker T. Washington State Park, about river mile 479.0. This 1,200-acre park with over 40 miles of undeveloped shoreline was originally developed as a TVA recreation demonstration area in the 1930's. Its name is derived from a large bay at the main channel of the Tennessee River that covers the old town of Harrison, and the last Cherokee Campground. Chester Frost Park lies on the east side of the lake at the mouth of Dallas Bay, river mile 480.5. The 280-acre park contains small stands of hardwood forest mixed with Virginia Pines.
1, 4a, 4e
Ornithological Importance: For seven out of nine years, the CSX railroad bridge over Nickajack Lake has provided the nesting site for a pair of Peregrine Falcons, a Tennessee and Federally Endangered species, and one of only three known such nesting sites in Tennessee. The large, open water expanse provides significant draw for waterfowl and gulls.
Note 1. This site represents one of only three known nesting locations for Peregrine Falcon, a Tennessee and Federal Endangered species, in Tennessee. A pair of Peregrine Falcons has nested on the CSX railroad bridge just below Chickamauga dam from 1997-2005 except 2000 and 2001 when they nested in the rock bluffs across from Falling Water Falls located in Pickett Gulf near Walden, about six miles upstream from the railroad bridge. See CSX Railroad Bridge for details.
Note 2. Waterfowl (ducks, geese, and swans) on the Chattanooga CBC (Chickamauga Lake is the main water area in the count) in the period 2000-2004 were (first number species/second number individuals): December 16, 2000 (19/1,524, December 22, 2001 (14/1,533), December 14, 2002 (16/1,487), December 20, 2003 (18/1,693), and December 18, 2004 (15/1,193) for a 5-year average of 16 species and 1,486 birds. The 5-year average for the major species were: Canada Goose (581), Mallard (362), Gadwall (221), Lesser Scaup (71), and Common Goldeneye (61). Common Loon averaged 55 birds in that 5-year period with highs of 72 birds (December 20, 2003), and 62 birds each (December 20, 2003 and December 18, 2004). Pied-billed Grebe averaged 42 birds in that 5-year period with a high of 52 individuals (December 16, 2000). Horned Grebe's 5-year average was 62 birds with a high of 96 birds (December 18, 2004).
Note 3. Gull numbers are dependent on the severity of the winter. Ring-billed Gull is the dominant gull species followed by Bonaparte's. In the period 2000-2004, the Chattanooga CBC averaged 2,807 gulls. Included were: Bonaparte's Gull--December 16, 2000 (882), December 22, 2001 (143), December 14, 2002 (961), December 20, 2003 (171), and December 18, 2004 (534) for a 5-year average of 538 birds; Ring-billed Gull--December 16, 2000 (2,545), December 22, 2001 (789), December 14, 2002 (2,528), December 20, 2003 (3,685), and December 18, 2004 (1,772), for a 5-year average of 2,264 birds; Herring Gull--small numbers or absent. Additional high counts of gulls in the period 2000-2004 were: Bonaparte's Gull--January 22, 2001 (1,000+), January 20, 2002 (507), January 9, 2002 (500), and January 22 & 26, 2004 (400); Ring-billed Gull--February 19, 2001 (3,000+), January 27, 2003 (2,000+), and January 20, 2004 (1,300+).
Avg. No Season
Max. No. Season
Years of Data
Peregrine Falcon (E) (See Note 1 above.
B (1 pair), year-round
|4a||Waterfowl (See Note 2 above.)||W||1,486 (CBC)||1,693 (CBC)||2000-2004||3, 6|
Gulls (See Note 3 above.)
B = Breeding, W = Wintering, SM = Spring Migration, FM = Fall Migration|
Source 2 1-Atlas Breeding Birds of Tennessee 2-Breeding Bird Surveys
3-Christmas Bird Counts (Chattanooga--Kevin Calhoon, compiler) 4-Point Counts 5-Refuge Counts
6-Personal observations (Kevin Calhoon) 7-Other (Dennis C. Harris, Harold E. Sharp, many others)
Tennessee Valley Authority; Department of Environment and Conservation, State
of Tennessee (state parks);
Contact: Chickamauga Dam, 423-875-6230. Booker T. Washington State Park, 5801 Champion Road, Chattanooga, TN 37416, 423-894-4955 (toll free), 423-855-9879 (fax). Harrison Bay State Park, 8411 Harrison Bay Road, Harrison, TN 37341, 423-344-6214 (office). Chester Frost Park, 2318 North Gold Point Circle, Hixson, TN 37343, 423-842-3306 (office), 423-843-0146 (fax).
Concerns: Critical concerns are water pollution,
disturbance to birds (boats and jet skis), recreation development, residential
development, and deforesting.
Management Program: None.
Submitted by: Kevin Calhoon, firstname.lastname@example.org
Approved as an IBA site: December 2005--Yes 5 No 2
This page was last updated on 02/19/06.