Mountain Island Lake Page

Information, maps and links for Mountain Island Lake

Mountain Island Lake - A few winding river miles from the Cowan's Ford Dam the Catawba enters the last lake of the chain entirely bounded by the state of North Carolina, Mountain Island Lake. While only 1/10th the size of Lake Norman, this lake provides drinking water to over 3/4 of a million people in the Charlotte, Mount Holly, Gastonia area. 

Sand bar on July 4th

Mountain Island Lake was created in 1924 with construction of the Mountain Island Hydroelectric Station.  At full pond, the Lake has a total surface area of 2,788 acres and 27 miles of shoreline in Mecklenburg County.  On average, water stays in Mountain Island lake for 11 days before flowing into Lake Wylie

Duke Energy operates a hydroelectric generating station at the dam. According to the EPA two of the 44 highest hazard coal ash ponds in the United States are located at the closed Riverbend Steam Station. Coal ash from the coal ash ponds is currently being removed. In addition to the issue of safety at the ash pond dams, the Riverkeeper continues to be concerned about contamination of ground water by the coal ash stored at the station. In 2010 Catawba Riverkeeper tested fish tissue, water and bottom sediment samples adjacent to the outlet of Duke's coal ash ponds on Mtn. Island Lake. for heavy metals and PCB's. The results showed high levels of both contaminates and eventually led to a State issued fish consumption advisory. As of 2015 there are fish consumption advisories in effect for the fish in Mountain Island Lake.

There are two public access boat ramps on the lake, a fishing pier at Mecklenburg County's Latta Plantation but no marinas. Just below the dam is a handicapped accessible public tailrace fishing area. MIL also has an active Covekeeper program.


          View Mountain Island Lake in a larger map

For News about the Charlotte area of the Catawba River Basin click here.
For information about water sampling on Mtn. Island Lake click here.
Links to regulations and guidance documents applicable to the Mecklenburg County portion of Mountain Island Lake:

Visit the MIL Covekeepers page


 Statistical information and links to Duke Energy information about the lakes can be found here -> Lakes


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Jan 25, 2017 NC Riverkeeper Report
From the perspectives of 12 NC Riverkeepers, this report discusses how multiple environmental issues pose challenges in the pursuit of clean, plentiful water. Whether you are in North Carolina or downstream in South Carolina, read this report about the state of environmental enforcement.
Dec 13, 2016 Community Foundation of Gaston County grants $5,000 to CRF for Riverkeeper Program
The Community Foundation will fund Catawba Riverkeeper's work in Gaston County.
Dec 12, 2016 A Successful Launch of our Water Education Program at Great Falls Elementary
Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation in partnership with 4-H Clemson Cooperative Extension successfully completed our pilot Education Outreach Program with 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students from Great Falls Elementary.
Sep 27, 2016 Lake Wateree Fall Cleanup a Sweeping Success
86 volunteers collected 5,490 pounds of trash from Lake Wateree
Jun 13, 2016 Dozens of Youth Reached in Water Education Outreach Program Pilot Lessons
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Tell your Riverkeeper if you see:

  • Sewage Overflows
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Click here to fill out a pollution report or to report water pollution to Catawba Riverkeeper by phone, call 1-888-679-9494 or 704-679-9494.  In addition, to informing your Riverkeeper, you should also report spills or contamination to federal, state and local environmental officials.

To report South Carolina water pollution call 1-888-481-0125.

To report North Carolina spills or fish kills, call your local regional Department of Environment & Natural Resources office during normal business hours (704-663-1699 for most Catawba basin areas or (828) 296-4500 for Burke, Caldwell, McDowell and other mountain counties) or 800-858-0368 after hours.  (For more information on NC spill reporting, click here)


The Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation is a proud member of EarthShare North Carolina, the North Carolina Conservation Network, River Network and the Waterkeeper Alliance.  It also in in an alliance with Clean Air Carolina to address issues, such as sprawl, that cause air and water problems.

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