RESOURCES

Claytor Lake is unique in its abundance of natural resources.  Its adjacent shorelines are graced with sheer rock walls and upland forests that not only provide terrestrial habitat but also filter pollutants, protecting and enhancing water quality for residents and visitors to recreate and enjoy.  Benefits extend well beyond the limits of the reservoir, as the clean water is utilized by Pulaski County as a source of drinking water.  Additionally, Claytor Lake supports a diverse assemblage of fish species, as well as many varied species of aquatic and land animals.  A recent aquatic resources report lists 30 different fish species, including black bass, catfish, walleye, and striped bass.   

 

Numerous management plans serve to protect the abundant natural resources found at Claytor Lake including

 

Appalachian Power Company, the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF), the Virginia Deparment of Conservation and Recreation (VDCR), the Friends of Claytor Lake (FOCL), and the BASS FEDERATION NATION encourages retention and enhancement of habitat along the shoreline. Providing structure in the water can provide valuable fish habitat, increase fish populations or attract fish to your shoreline depending upon the type of structure and water depths in which they are placed ...

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Any large body of water, whether constructed or free-flowing, is subject to the accumulation of floating or suspended debris, particularly after heavy inflows, slow-moving storms or unrestricted run-off. Much of this is natural, but there is a growing amount of man-made debris that flows into the project due to upstream carelessness, poor environmental mitigation or lakeside littering. As part of its operating license, Appalachian Power is required, first and foremost, to maintain safe ...

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During the past decade, several non-native, invasive species of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) have spread aggressively throughout Claytor Lake, restricting access to parts of the lake and limiting some recreational uses. These aggressively invasive species are able to grow in conditions of lower light and higher nutrient concentrations than the native species. The invasive species have thrived in areas of Claytor Lake that were not previously vegetated, outcompeted native varieties of SAV for habitat, and become prolific to the point ...

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Appalachian is required, under its new license, to monitor the erosion along the shoreline of the reservoir and the riverbanks downstream of the dam.  See the Erosion Monitoring Plan for more details.

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Appalachian Power operates the Claytor Project in a “levelized flow” operation at an elevation between 1845 and 1846 feet above mean sea level from April 1 to November 30 each year and in a “peaking” operation at an elevation between 1844 and 1846 feet above mean sea level from December 1 to March 31.    Claytor Lake is not a flood control project, meaning that water flowing into the reservoir is passed through the dam.  In other words, water in equals water out.  However, when flooding conditions are forecasted, Appalachian may lower the reservoir to an elevation of 1841 feet above mean sea level to provide additional inflow storage and release this flow downstream over a longer period of time.  During such periods of high inflow, the reservoir may exceed an elevation of 1846 feet above mean sea level. 

 

Upon request from established stakeholders to the project, Appalachian Power may also draw the reservoir down periodically to allow shoreline residents the opportunity to maintain/repair dock structures and improve their shorelines with vegetation plantings and/or erosion control structures.  Such non-emergency drawdowns must be approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and residents are notified 45 days in advance of the actual drawdown.  For additional information, refer to the Water Management Plan.

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