June 17, 2011

Heard the recent publicity concerning the water quality in High Rock Lake?  If you live and/or play there, you should be concerned!!!  Seems Thomasville is not the only source of continuing pollution affecting Abbotts Creek and High Rock lake (although they seem to be the biggest, continuing repeat offender).  Piedmont Council of Governments has been studying the many sources of the pollution there and is working on a comprehensive plan to restore the habitat in lower Abbotts Creek and improve the water quality coming into High Rock Lake.  Their recent press release announced their coming Outreach Meetings.  They will be holding a series of public meetings next week to present their plan and give you a chance to ask questions concerning the pollution sources and what we can all do to help with this effort.  The meeting times and location are listed on the Meetings and Events pages.  You can find lots of information concerning their effort on their web site.

Jan 5, 2011

For quite a few years Alcoa has maintained High Rock Lake relatively close to full pond in an effort to keep complaints to FERC to a minimum until FERC issues a new license to operate the project.  Now they have apparently decided to draw High Rock Down approximately 10 feet through late Feb.  Their rational is to give residents the opportunity to perform maintenance on their piers and seawalls and/or allow them to finally use permits they have had for years for dredging.  This will likely be a welcome event for those residents around the lake that need to make repairs to their piers, seawalls or boat ramps.  Unfortunately Alcoa neglected to tell anyone in advance of their plan so residents could arrange for materials to be on site or workers to be available.  This is a classic example of issues that were discussed extensively during the relicensing negotiations and apparently will never change.  Alcoa already has the web site in place and could have easily informed the public of their intentions far in advance but once again chose to leave those most impacted by their actions totally uninformed.  Those who have pontoon boats that stay in the water year round may have already been caught with their boats stuck in the mud.  We do question the wisdom of drawing High Rock down appreciably when the river basin is suffering from drought conditions and river flows are running 35% to 45% below normal.  Instead of lowering the lake during previous winters when river flows were normal or above, they chose to do so at a time when their ability to refill the lake in the spring could be questionable.  According to the Low Inflow Protocol they agreed to use during periods of drought,  they should actually be reducing the amount of water being withdrawn from High Rock until drought conditions subside and river flows return to normal.