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Lakes & Recreation » Nantahala Lakes & Rivers » Hydroelectric Relicensing

Hydroelectric Relicensing

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has issued all six hydroelectric licenses for the Nantahala area. These licenses kickstart processes for a variety of public recreation and aquatic habitat enhancements for the region. We are implementing the terms of these licenses, while awaiting FERC decisions on some outstanding issues.

Between 2000 and 2003, team members invested more than 9,000 hours visiting sites, guiding study needs, reviewing reports and collaborating to address environmental concerns and public recreation needs. The Nantahala and Tuckasegee settlement agreements are key to successfully relicensing the hydro stations. The two legally binding agreements, signed in 2003, are the work of stakeholder teams representing 30 organizations, including Duke Energy.


Riparian Enhancement Fund Proposal Form (Word Doc)

Riparian Enhancement Fund Criteria and Map (PDF)

Franklin Plant

Enhancements Coming to the Nantahala River

  • Add five kayak/canoe access areas with parking along the river and a handicap-accessible fishing access area.
  • Make land near Nantahala Powerhouse available to the U.S. Forest Service to improve public access for whitewater recreation.
  • On eight days during the recreation season, release flows from Nantahala Dam into the old streambed to provide high-skill boating opportunities.
  • Increase continuous minimum flows from the Nantahala Project to enhance stream habitat in the highly popular stretch of delayed harvest trout water in the Nantahala River Bypassed Reach.
  • Add continuous minimum flows from Whiteoak Dam to enhance aquatic habitat in Whiteoak Creek and downstream into the Nantahala River Bypassed Reach.

Enhancements Coming to the Tuckasegee River

  • Add nine river access areas, including a portage around Cullowhee Dam.
  • Provide 150 acres of land upstream of Wolf Creek Dam to the U.S. Forest Service to enhance public recreation and restore native brook trout.
  • During certain months, schedule generation releases to provide flows to increase paddling opportunities and enhance use and access for one of the most popular catch-and-release stretches in the Southeast.
  • On seven days each year, release water from Lake Glenville into the old streambed to provide high-skill boating opportunities. Create a parking area, trail and downstream take-out area to improve access.
FERC Projects
Project Number
Bryson Project 2601
Franklin Project 2603
Mission Project 2619
East Fork Project 2698
West Fork Project 2686
Nantahala Project 2692
Queens Project 2694

Visit the links below to learn more about the Nantahala relicensing process, including the array of recreation and environmental enhancements that we expect to initiate under the new licenses.