Great Flows for Great Falls, North Carolina!

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In late 2002, Duke Power applied to FERC to amend its license for the Catawba-Wateree project requesting modification of the project boundary to exclude two bypass reaches – stretches of riverbed where the natural water flow is diverted to generate power. One of these bypassed reaches was once the Great Falls of the Catawba, a series of high rapids neighboring a town which took the name Great Falls in regard for the local scenery.

State and federal agencies and several conservation groups filed motions to intervene, protesting the assertion that a bypass reach is not a part of project works and could be excluded from the project boundary. The interveners also challenged that there was no good reason to amend a license only months before relicensing was set to begin.

FERC agreed, and on April 18th issued a decision dismissing Duke' s application to amend their Catawba-Wateree license to remove the Great Falls of the Catawba from the project boundary. In the meantime, high flows overtopped the diversion dam and sent glorious rushes of water into the Great Falls.