Tennessee Valley Authority
a federal corporation


Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is a federal corporation that works to develop the natural resources of the Tennessee Valley. Congress created TVA in 1933 and gave it the overall goal of conserving the resources of the valley region. Congress also directed TVA to speed the region's economic development and, in case of war, to use the Tennessee Valley's resources for national defense.

Beginning in colonial times, the valley's forests had been cut down for lumber or to clear the land for farming and mining. The roots of trees and shrubs had held the soil in place and absorbed moisture. But when the forests were removed, the water ran off the land, carrying the topsoil with it. Farming became decreasingly productive, and flooding rivers caused loss of life and property.

Through the years, TVA has built dams to control floods, create electric power, and deepen rivers for shipping. TVA has also planted new forests and preserved existing ones, and it has developed highly effective fertilizers.

The Tennessee Valley covers 40,910 square miles. The valley includes parts of Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi. The land varies from peaks 1 mile high in the Great Smoky Mountains to the low, muddy plains near the mouth of the Tennessee River. The valley has rich deposits of coal, copper, gravel, iron, limestone, manganese, marble, sand, and zinc.

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