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Lake Tillery

The Tillery and Blewett Hydroelectric Plants together comprise the Yadkin-Pee Dee River Project. These plants are operated as an integrated unit under FERC Project License No. 2206. The Tillery and Blewett Plants are located in the Southern Piedmont area of North Carolina. Tillery Hydroelectric Plant is located between Montgomery and Stanly Counties, four miles west of Mt. Gilead and approximately 17 miles south of Badin Lake. The plants were placed in service in the spring of 1928.

Lake Tillery is formed by the dam at the Tillery Hydroelectric Plant on the Pee Dee River. The lake extends approximately 15 miles upstream from the dam to Yadkin Inc.s Yadkin Flass Hydroelectric Development. At normal operating levels, Lake Tillery is about 72 feet deep at the dam. The reservoir surface area is 5,260 acres at that level (elevation 278.17), and the usable storage with 22 foot drawdown is 88,000 acre-feet. The Lake Tillery shoreline is extensively developed with housing, and the lake is widely used by the public for boating, fishing, swimming and other aquatic recreational activities.


Duke Energy Progress developed a Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) for Lake Tillery, N.C., in response to an order from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The SMP, which provides a structured approach to manage the lake's shoreline, was submitted in December 2001 and approved by the FERC in November 2004. Duke Energy Progress intends for the Lake Tillery SMP to provide a balanced approach in managing the lake shoreline with consideration to hydropower generation needs, shoreline development, natural resources, cultural resources, recreation, water quality and aesthetic values.

Lake Tillery is the storage reservoir for the Tillery Hydroelectric Development, part of the Yadkin-Pee Dee River Hydroelectric Project. The hydroelectric project provides renewable, emissions-free hydroelectric power to our customers. The project is located on the Yadkin-Pee Dee River in central North Carolina, and includes the scenic Uwharrie Mountains. The Yadkin-Pee Dee River is the second-largest river basin in North Carolina, encompassing 7,213 square miles, and it supports many rare, threatened and endangered state and federally listed wildlife species.

Duke Energy Progress is currently undergoing relicensing of the Yadkin-Pee Dee Hydroelectric Project, including the Tillery Hydroelectric Development. The new license is pending FERC approval and issuance. As part of the relicensing Comprehensive Settlement Agreement (CSA) signed by 13 stakeholders, including lake owner groups, Duke Energy Progress will implement specific recreational improvements, cultural and natural resources protection measures, and seasonal lake level management guidelines for Lake Tillery with issuance of the new FERC license. The revision to the SMP is being conducted independently of the relicensing process but the noted CSA improvements will be incorporated into the SMP after license issuance by FERC.

Details regarding the revision of the SMP, including the revised draft SMP, will be posted on this webpage as the information becomes available.

Updated Draft SMP
Duke Energy Progress has updated the Lake Tillery SMP as part of the 10-year review required by the FERC.

View daily graphs or download lake level data. Historical data are available for the past 36 days.

Project Background

A Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) is a tool specifically designed for shoreline management planning. Duke Energy Progress filed the SMP for Lake Tillery with the FERC on Dec. 31, 2001.

The Lake Tillery Project contains approximately 118 miles of shoreline, managed by Duke Energy Progress through its leasing program, dock permitting program and guidelines that accommodate the variety of shoreline uses within the Lake Tillery Project boundary.

To best manage the lands within the project boundary, we have undertaken a number of activities in regard to the Lake Tillery project shoreline. For example, we documented and mapped the current uses of the shoreline through aerial photography and on-site observations. The shoreline of the Lake Tillery Project was classified into current land-use categories. Currently, about two miles of the shoreline are classified as commercial; a total of 64 miles are residential; a total of five miles are agricultural; one mile is designated as project operations; one mile is public infrastructure; a total of 12 miles are public recreation; and 33 miles of shoreline are deemed undeveloped.

To base our shoreline management decisions on the best available biological and ecological data, we undertook a habitat mapping study to identify and map locations for various shoreline aquatic habitat types within the Lake Tillery Project boundary. Duke Energy Progress met with resource agencies during spring 2000 to discuss our study plan. Fieldwork was conducted during the summer of 2000. As a result, we mapped the following six habitat types:

  • emergent/submerged aquatic vegetation areas
  • water willow beds
  • water willow and submerged timber/woody debris
  • submerged timber
  • fringed wetlands area
  • scrub-shrub habitat.

This information was used to develop future land-use designations for the shoreline of Lake Tillery. More than 17 miles of shoreline are to remain undisturbed (natural areas). About 14 miles of shoreline are subject to very restricted access (Impact Minimization Zones). About nine miles of currently undeveloped shoreline are to be allowed access under the existing guidelines (subject to revisions).

Appendix B of the SMP contains the Guidelines for the Use of Leased Properties at Lake Tillery, dated October 1, 2001. It is important to note that the guidelines are subject to periodic revisions as deemed necessary by Duke Energy Progress. In terms of protection of the shoreline, the guidelines represent minimum standards to be applied to all shoreline properties. Additional standards or restrictions apply to certain areas. As indicated above, any activities within Impact Minimization Zones (IMZs) require adherence to the IMZ Guidelines, which are also included in the SMP (Appendix C). No disturbance of the shoreline and no construction of piers or boathouses are allowed in Environmental/Natural Areas.

In preparation for the Shoreline Management Plan, Duke Energy Progress also contacted the N.C. Natural Heritage Program to determine the locations of any state and federally-listed rare species, high-quality natural communities, and significant natural heritage areas that have been identified in the vicinity of the Lake Tillery Project. In addition, we have documented opportunities for recreation and access that are located throughout the Lake Tillery Project, including marinas, boat ramps, designated bank and pier fishing facilities, private recreation facilities, national forest lands and a state park.

Duke Energy Progress also contacted the N.C. State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) to determine the locations of known cultural sites within the one-quarter mile of the Lake Tillery Project boundary. We will keep the information about the locations of all of the sites on file, and will direct any individuals or groups who propose development affecting these sites to the SHPO.

Duke Energy Progress' lake manager monitors the Lake Tillery Project. Included in this monitoring is a separate shoreline cruise for the spring, summer and fall seasons of each year. This cruise is performed to ensure compliance by all leaseholders with all of the permits that have been issued and the Guidelines for the Use of Leased Properties at Lake Tillery, and to prevent any encroachments within the Lake Tillery Project boundary. We have a permitting program in place for the reasonable and responsible development of project lands. To supplement our monitoring program, we have conducted aerial photography of the entire lake shoreline. In the future, additional aerial photography can be used to identify and confirm changes to the shoreline.

Duke Energy Progress keeps leaseholders near Lake Tillery informed regarding matters related to lake activities, including the SMP, through the publication and distribution of an annual newsletter. Information for the newsletter is solicited from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, and others. The newsletter and other means, including this website, will continue to be used to keep the public informed about the Lake Tillery Shoreline Management Plan.