Lake Norman Page
Information, maps and links about Lake Norman
Lake Norman - When the Catawba River finally makes a marked turn to due south some 15 miles downstream from Lookout Shoals Dam it has already become North Carolina's largest lake, Lake Norman. Lake Norman was created in 1964 with completion of Cowan's Ford Dam. It was the last reservoir to be created of the eleven lakes impounded.
Lake Norman's waters provide an abundance of energy, drinking water and recreation to Carolinians. The 32,475 acres of the lake nearly equal the surface area of the other 10 lakes of the Catawba River system combined. Water stays in Lake Norman for more than 200 days before flowing through the dam and into Mountain Island Lake.
Three electricity generating stations exploit the water of Lake Norman; one nuclear, one water-turbine powered and one coal fired. The EPA’s list of 44 High Hazard Ash Ponds includes the ash pond at Duke Energy's Marshall Steam Station on Lake Norman. Lake Norman is a source of drinking water for Huntersville, eastern Lincoln County, Mooresville, Davidson, Cornelius, and the northern portion Charlotte.
The beach at Lake Norman State Park
In total there are 10 public boat ramps, 14 marinas and 3 public fishing accesses on the 520 miles of shoreline. The site of many fishing tournaments throughout the year, Lake Norman also boasts a large and active group of Covekeepers.
Issues on Lake Norman
Lake Norman is one of the cleanest lakes in the Catawba basin, due to its large size and historical lack of development. However, as the area around Lake Norman becomes more developed, environmental problems are becoming more common. The most frequently reported problems are excessive discharges of sediment from construction projects, sewage overflows, and stormwater problems. Homeowners and developers sometimes contribute to the problem by destroying natural buffers around the lake that filter out contaminants and reduce the impact of stormwater. In addition, there are discharges directly to the Lake from two of the largest powerplants in the State of North Carolina, and approximately 25 other discharges, primarily from small privately owned sewage treatment facilities.
There is a statewide consumption advisory, including Lake Norman, for largemouth bass due to mercury contamination. Women of child bearing age (15-44), pregnant women, nursing mothers, and children under age 15 are advised not to eat largemouth bass. Other people should not eat more than one serving per week of largemouth bass (an adult serving is 6 ounces of uncooked fish). In addition, Mecklenburg County advises that women of childbearing age, pregnant women, nursing mothers and children under age 15 not eat more than two servings (6 ounces for adults, 2 ounces for children) of Bluegill Sunfish, Farm Raised Catfish, Farm Raised and Wild Trout, or Farm Raised Crayfish; all other people are advised not to eat more than 2 servings per week of these fish.
In early 2011, Catawba Riverkeeper conducted water, fish and sediment testing that found alarming levels of PCBs, heavy metals and other contaminants in Mountain Island Lake, which is immediately downstream from Lake Norman. This testing triggered the issuance of extensive fish advisories for the lakes and river sections below Lake Norman, but no advisories were issued for Lake Norman because the fish in Lake Norman were not tested.
In July 2011 the N.C. Division of Water Quality and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services conducted a joint project on Lake Norman to analyze various fish species for the presence of mercury, arsenic, selenium, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The species collected and tested were channel catfish, blue catfish, flathead catfish, spotted bass, white perch, and black crappie from the lower section of Lake Norman. The lab results for all sampled species showed that the levels of the target contaminants were within acceptable ranges and considered safe by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. Small amounts of PCBs and mercury were detected in all samples, which is not good, but is consistent with data throughout the country. In other words, the testing suggests that at least six species of fish in the lower portion of Lake Norman are safe to eat.
For more information regarding this advisory and others in North Carolina, see the N.C. DHHS website at epi.publichealth.nc.gov/fish/.
For more information regarding the Division of Water Quality and Storm Water Services project on Lake Norman, contact David Caldwell at 704-336-5452, David.Caldwell@Mecklenburgcountync.gov or Jeff DeBerardinis at 919-743-8473 or Jeff.DeBerardinis@ncdenr.gov .
Read more here: "Test Results Show Some Fish from Lake Norman Safe to Eat"
- Minimum age to operate a Jet Ski
(The Law Changed 1-31-06)
- No Wake Zones
- BWI's, reckless boating, and Litter
- PFD's required for Children
- PWC (Personal Watercraft) Laws
- Rafting Safety Ordinance
- Illegal Boater Discharge or Littering Ordinance
- No Wake Buoy Regulations
- Dock Construction
- Possession of Grass Carp
- Camping on Islands
- Boat Noise / Muffling Devices