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Lake Junaluska to draw down water levels

Lake Junaluska to draw down water levelsLake Junaluska has opened its dam to draw down the lake. The lake drawdown, which happens every few years, allows for removal of silt from the lake’s floor as well as repairs, maintenance and litter cleanup. The lake will be filled again by Easter.

Currently, there is no water going over the spillway in the dam; however, the gates under the dam will continue to allow water to flow below the dam. Richland Creek will continue to flow freely throughout the entire process.

The estimated time frame for the lake drawdown is weather-dependent and may be adjusted if it rains or snows. The lake is lowered slowly, in accordance with wildlife regulations, so that the animals that live in and around the lake can adjust accordingly to the smaller amount of water that will remain. Fish, ducks and other wildlife manage well in the shallow waters until the lake refills.

Barring rain in the forecast, the lake will shortly be dry near Highway U.S. 19. At that point, equipment will be brought in to scrape the lake bottom and collect the accumulated silt. Silt deposits come from runoff into the Richland Creek and Factory Branch stream watersheds, which feed into Lake Junaluska. The work conducted will follow U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit requirements.

The Lake Junaluska walking path will remain open. There will be no boating on the lake until the lake is restored to full pool. For more information, contact Lake Junaluska Assembly Public Works at 828.452.5911.

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