chilhowee lake drained
Three miles upstream from the Chilhowee Dam on U.S. 129, a group of passers-by stop and gather along the road to gaze at a bridge to the past. Public safety is number one for us through this process. The drained water reveals a peek at the past. Portions of old rusted cars that were dumped in the reservoir now sit in a sunny breeze, along with old beer cans and other litter dumped in the lake the last few decades. Gawkers gather to see the low water levels at Chilhowee Lake. Let friends in your social network know what you are reading about. Notice signs for the drawdown are posted all along Chilhowee Reservoir. (Photo: Jim Matheny, WBIR). Signs warn people not to boat, camp, or search for archaeological artifacts. At the Tabcat Creek bridge six miles upstream from the dam, the land resembles a martian landscape of dried mud. Until the drawdown ends and water once again fills the reservoir, the dry land saturates the scenery with a rare glimpse at a sunken past where the Little Tennessee River winds its way from Calderwood through Chilhowee. "We can see where the seepage is getting out of the dam, but we're not sure where it's getting into the dam. In 2008, Tapoco owned the dam and dropped the water level by 25 feet to make repairs on the earthen portion of the dam. Chilhowee Lake provides part of the boundary between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Cherokee National Forest. Construction on the dam started in 1955. An old bridge normally hidden by the deep mountain water has emerged to reveal how travelers once crossed Abrams Creek. (Photo: Jim Matheny, WBIR). Boat access is closed. "We'll continue drawing the water down and then take a full look at the dam to make sure it going to be safe and in top operational shape for a long time to come.". But you may not be able to see where it's getting into the roof," said Schreck. Old roads, bridges, and other infrastructure are now visible from the days before the area was flooded for the sake of hydroelectric power in 1957. If the roof has a leak, you might see where the water is dripping on the ceiling. Chilhowee reservoir is drawing down 40 ft to inspect the dam for seepage. "We can see where the seepage is getting out of the dam, but we're not sure where it's getting into the dam. If the roof has a leak, you might see where the water is dripping on the ceiling. Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners purchased Tapoco's four dams in 2012 and renamed the operation Smoky Mountain Hydropower. © 2020 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, LLC. An old road bed is clearly visible as the dry shore extends hundreds of yards. A link has been posted to your Facebook feed. Another mile or so upstream at the day-use parking and picnic area, the expanding shore reveals dozens of old Christmas trees that were likely dumped in the water to provide fish habitat. An old road bed is clearly visible as the dry shore extends hundreds of yards. ", The water level at Chilhowee Dam has already dropped around 20 feet as of September 24, 2015. 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People should expect to see construction equipment out at the dam during this process either way, because we are likely going to take advantage of the water being down to do some other work you normally cannot easily do," said Schreck. This shallow 10-mile long, cool water reservoir is more river-like, coursing a narrow, twisted route that stretches upstream to Calderwood Dam, near the state line. Along with the Chilhowee Dam, Brookfield operates the Calderwood Dam and Cheoah Dam upstream from Chilhowee on the Little Tennessee River. Portions of old rusted cars that were dumped in the reservoir now sit in a sunny breeze, along with old beer cans and other litter dumped in the lake the last few decades. Another mile or so upstream at the day-use parking and picnic area, the expanding shore reveals dozens of old Christmas trees that were likely dumped in the water to provide fish habitat. It was completed in 1957. The day-use areas along the river on U.S. 129 are still open for spectators to stop and take a look at the rare sight, but that is as far as Brookfield wants anyone to go. As the reservoir disappears, the past reappears. Three miles upstream from the Chilhowee Dam on U.S. 129, a group of passers-by stop and gather along the road to gaze at a bridge to the past. Boat access is closed. And the farther you go upstream from the dam, the more striking the drawdown becomes. Construction on the dam started in 1955. LINK: Smoky Mountain Hydro updates on Chilhowee drawdown. Notifications can be turned off anytime in the browser settings. The current drawdown of 40 feet will far exceed a similar drainage a few years ago. We were amazed at the grassy spots that are growing after being under water for 50 years. The Santeetlah Dam was also obtained as part of the Tapoco purchase. Schreck said seepage is common and occurs in most dams to some degree, but finding the source can require a lot of work.

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