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nantahala tuckasegee update (NC)

Posted: 10/18/2010
By: Kevin Colburn

We are pleased to announce that Duke Energy recently received their new state water quality certificates for their dams on the Tuckasegee and Nantahala rivers.  These certificates were the final remaining documents that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission needs to issue new federal licenses for the dams.  The dams are expected to be licensed before the end of 2010. 


American Whitewater signed robust settlement agreements in 2003 calling for guaranteed and enhanced releases on the lower reaches of the Tuck and Nantahala, new releases on the Upper Nantahala and West Fork Tuck, as well as a suite of access and ecological improvements.  Duke Energy has been voluntarily providing the lower river releases and certain other enhancements since that time, but the upper river releases and many other high value mitigation measures will only be provided after the FERC licenses are issued.  Legal challenges to the removal of Dillsboro Dam have held up licensing until now.  With the dam removed and all permits issues, FERC licenses appear imminent. 


Once the licenses are issued Duke Energy has up to 1 year to produce a recreation plan that includes access facilities for the West Fork of the Tuck and Upper Nantahala.  FERC must then approve the plan which will take them several months or more.  Then facilities (ie trails and parking areas) must be built.  We have asked Duke, who we consider a great partner, to complete the recreation plan in as short of a timeframe as possible and to prioritize construction of these facilities.  We have also offered to help build trails.  This timeline indicates that upper-river releases may begin as early as 2012, but unfortunately a more likely scenario is 2013.


American Whitewater and Carolina Canoe Club met with Duke Energy and other stakeholders last week to discuss these issues and to schedule the lower-river releases for 2011.       

Kevin Colburn

Asheville, NC

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