John Grace is live on location in Dillsboro, NC with American Whitewater’s Jeff Paine reporting on the first day of removal of the Dillsboro Dam on the Tuckaseegee River.
American Whitewater has fought hard in the Tuckaseegee Watershed for a long time. Here are some of the fruits of their labor.
Back in 2001 American Whitewater was part of a diverse and open group of local, regional, and national groups that began meeting with Duke Energy to collaborate on a new plan for operating their dams in the Tuckasegee and Nantahala watersheds. The outcome of the three years of negotiations that followed was a comprehensive settlement agreement that Duke submitted to FERC as their application for new licenses for their dams. The agreement called for the removal of Dillsboro Dam and subsequent watershed enhancements like enhanced flow releases, new public river access areas, new parks and trails, land conservation, and funds for riparian conservation and water quality improvements. Unfortunately, the removal of Dillsboro Dam became a controversial issue and the resulting conflict has cost large sums of money and delayed this exciting river restoration and enhancement project for well over three years.
American Whitewater looks foward to celebrating the removal of Dillsboro Dam with the paddling community. Taking the dam out will provide a great river access area in Dillsboro and allow paddlers (and fish) to pass through the area for the first time in over a century. It is likely that there will be at least one small ledge at the dam site that may offer some whitewater challenge and/or surfing opportunities once removal is complete. Paddlers are strongly discouraged from paddling near (or through) the dam removal site while removal is occuring this spring. We will be working with Duke Energy to communicate the removal schedule and recreational protocol.
PS: Please excuse the headline pun(s).