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Dillsboro Dam two steps closer to removal

Posted: 01/09/2009
by Kevin Colburn

One of the three counties opposed to the removal of Dillsboro Dam, Macon County, recently announced that they will no longer fight the removal and are withdrawing from the pending litigation.  For the past few years, three North Carolina county governments have been delaying a dam removal, dam releases, river access area construction, trail building, riparian conservation, and other public benefits on the Tuckasegee and Nantahala rivers.  These beneficial actions were called for in the 2003 settlement agreement that AW and many other groups signed with Duke Power to resolve the relicensing of multiple dams.  The counties have filed countless challenges with state and federal regulators - all of which have failed.  Read more about Macon County's decision to back out here.


One of the remaining opposition counties, Jackson County, in addition to taking part in federal litigation has also been withholding a permit that would allow Duke Power to remove sediment from the reservoir upstream of Dillsboro Dam, an action that must occur prior to dam removal.  Duke Power recently filed a law suit against Jackson County over this issue.  The decision to sue Jackson County reflects Duke Power's high level of commitment regarding our settlement agreement.  Read more about the lawsuit here.


American Whitewater fully supports Duke Power's continued efforts to remove Dillsboro Dam and implement the settlement agreement we signed with them over 5 years ago.  We remain hopeful and confident that the Counties' pending federal litigation will fail, Duke Power's litigation will succeed, and that paddlers will finally be treated to a freeflowing Tuckasegee River, and some spectacular boating on the West Fork of the Tuck and the Upper Nantahala in the near future.  These decisions may come too late for releases to occur in 2009.  We expect dam removal to be completed in 2010, leading to releases on the Upper Nantahala and West Fork of the Tuck.


Associated Projects

Nantahala Relicensing (NC)
AW has worked with regional stakeholders to relicense several dams on the Nantahala River and its tributaries since 2000.

Associated Rivers