An important aspect of being .a member of the LWPOA includes volunteering to help with many of our ongoing events and services, some of which are shown below:
Insight from Alabama Power's Preliminary License Proposal Filing
Lake Wedowee Area Upcoming Events
For the Lake Wedowee Property Owners' Association, "Protecting Your Playground" is more than just our motto. It clearly states our mission of safeguarding and improving the quality of the lake environment and the interests of the property owners.
On June 29, 2021, Alabama Power Company filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) the Preliminary License Proposal (PLP) for Lake Harris (Lake Wedowee). The company’s application for another 40 year operating license will be filed on November 30, 2021. FERC will accept comments from the public on the preliminary proposal until September 27.
Alabama Power proposes to keep future Lake Harris levels the same as they are now; that is, 793’ in the summer and 785’ in the winter. The company studied the effects on the lake and the river system downstream of the dam of 1, 2, 3, and 4 feet higher winter pools and determined: “...from the modeled 100-Year Design Flood that increases in downstream flooding were not reasonable; therefore, Alabama Power eliminated these operating alternatives from further consideration.” [PLP, page 5-2, Table 5-1 - Summary of Alternatives Considered but Eliminated and Rationale.] For that reason, the LWPOA anticipates that any winter level higher than the current 785’ would likely trigger a challenge to the license application, a costly and protracted process.
The LWPOA studied the data and asked that the lake stay one foot higher in winter as that would make more docks usable year around and would cause little additional negative effect downstream. Based on data about flood damage downstream, the LWPOA does not anticipate the company, FERC, or the Corps of Engineers (which controls the dam during flood operations) would look favorably on requests for a higher winter level.
Alabama Power also proposes to install a mechanism at the dam to maintain a continuous minimum flow (CMF) of 150-300 cubic feet per second down the river. This flow is the rough equivalent of the current “Green Plan” pulsing but is spread throughout the day instead of three large 10 minute discharges through the generators. This should alleviate some of the environmental changes that the current "all-or-nothing" flows cause. The company makes it clear in the proposal that a CMF will not cause the lake level to fall below the licensed winter and summer levels: “The proposed continuous minimum flow would not affect Alabama Power’s ability to maintain average lake levels, and therefore, would not affect the ability to use private structures and public boat ramps throughout the year compared to baseline operations.” [PLP, pp 11-22 & 23.]
The PLP contains many hundreds of pages of details, recommendations, and supporting documents that affect other stakeholders, mostly focused on environmental impacts with negligible impact on lake property owners.
If the Preliminary License Proposal is implemented in the license application in November, operations and pool levels will have the least negative effects on all stakeholders. We will carefully monitor comments from other stakeholders that could affect pool levels, operations, or property use and values around the lake shore. While many members will be disappointed that the winter level will not be higher, the data are clear on negative downstream impacts. Unless that data can be shown to be flawed, there is almost no chance that FERC and the COE will allow any higher winter pool.
We will send out updates as any new information becomes available.
LWPOA Relicensing Chairman
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