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Catawba-Wateree recreation management plan approved

Posted: January 2, 2018 10:14 a.m.
Updated: January 2, 2018 1:00 a.m.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has given Duke Energy the green light to move forward on the Catawba-Wateree recreation management plan. 

According to a Duke Energy press release, FERC approved the plan as of Dec. 19, 2017.

The plan, submitted for FERC review and approval in November 2016, includes public recreation requirements and agreements included in the new 40-year license FERC issued in 2015 for the Catawba-Wateree’s Hydroelectric Project. The project encompasses nearly 1,800 miles of shoreline along 11 reservoirs -- including Lake Wateree -- in nine counties in North Carolina and five in South Carolina, according to the press release.

The recreation commitments in the plan are extensive and include 89 proposed public projects and enhancements at 32 existing recreation areas; 26 new access areas will be built at a number of lakes, including Lake James, Norman and Wateree, over the course of the 20-year project. Construction phases are divided into five-year periods for 20 years.

Plan highlights

According ot the press release, Duke Energy has been actively planning for construction over the past five years by purchasing or leasing property, completing detailed engineering plans and preparing environmental permits. This means the Duke Energy recreation team is ready to start construction on projects slated for the first five-year period, beginning in 2018.

Projects include new picnic facilities, fishing piers, swim beaches, campgrounds, expanded parking, restrooms and additional boating access areas.

Under the first five years of the plan and the project’s Comprehensive Relicensing Agreement, Duke Energy will:

· Construct 12 new access areas spanning from Lake James in North Carolina to Lake Wateree in South Carolina

· Complete upgrades at Black Bear (Lake James), Beatties Ford (Lake Norman) and Allison Creek (Lake Wylie) access areas

· Complete 14 of 20 recreation projects from Lake Wylie to Lake Wateree

· Provide more than $4 million primarily for local governments to develop public recreation

· Offer new or renewed leases to local governments and state agencies to operate and maintain access areas in their jurisdictional areas.

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