Claytor Lake levels to draw down by five feet

The last Claytor Lake drawdown was in November 2017. Volunteers are pictured searching the exposed lake bottom for stranded mussels so they can be returned to the water. Note the exposed docks.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has authorized a temporary lowering of water levels by five feet at Appalachian Power’s Claytor Hydroelectric Project in southwest Virginia during November 2019.

Appalachian, in cooperation with Friends of Claytor Lake (FOCL) and Pulaski County, requested the drawdown to provide lakeside property owners an opportunity to perform shoreline construction and maintenance activities.

The drawdown of lake levels will begin Monday, Nov. 4 at 8 a.m. The reservoir will be lowered approximately one foot per day until it reaches the 1841-foot elevation or a total of five feet below the normal full pond level of 1846 feet. That should occur by Saturday, Nov. 9 at 8 a.m.

Refilling will begin the evening of Sunday, Nov. 17 and the lake should return to a normal elevation by Sunday, Nov. 22 at 10 p.m. Water inflow during the drawdown period could cause projected water levels to fluctuate.

FERC requires that the drawdown plan include mitigation of negative effects on mussels living in the lake.  Shoreline workers and volunteers will be asked to gently toss stranded mussels into the water and to document their work. Additional information about the mussel rescue effort can be found at

Vegetation removal from within the project boundary is not allowed unless prior approval has been obtained from Appalachian. Other shoreline construction or stabilization projects could require approval from Appalachian, the county or the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Information about shoreline permits or the application process can be obtained by calling (540)489-2556 or by going to Appalachian’s Claytor Project website

The planned drawdown is subject to change or cancellation based on weather or other significant factors. Lower water levels may affect boat ramps and other access points along the shoreline.

The Claytor Project was completed in 1939 and is operated by Appalachian Power on the New River in Pulaski County. The total installed electric generating capacity of the plant is 75 megawatts.

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