Smith Mountain Facebook Twitter

About Smith Mountain

Current News

APPALACHIAN POWER BUILDS UP ITS RESPONSE TO INCREASED DEBRIS IN LEESVILLE LAKE

ROANOKE, Va., Aug. 3, 2017 – Appalachian Power has increased debris removal response at its Smith Mountain Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Project—especially on Leesville Lake—to contend with increased loading of mostly-natural debris there.

Appalachian Power and users of watercraft on Leesville have seen a consistent amount of debris floating on the water surface or just below the surface this summer despite efforts by the company and contractors to remove it. At times, larger plumes of interlocked debris can be seen on the surface.

“To date this year, the company has removed more than 400 tons of debris from Leesville Lake,” said Larry Jackson, Appalachian Power’s external affairs director for Virginia/Tennessee. “This is a significant amount of debris in comparison to amounts removed previously from the Leesville reservoir for the entire year.”

For example, in 2015, 171 tons were removed, while in 2016, 528 tons were removed. Based on those numbers, the company is on track to break previous records primarily due to the addition of new equipment and the amount of debris loading that was received earlier in the year. Much of the current debris loading and sediment relocation can be attributed to the removal of the Power Dam on the Pigg River which empties into Leesville. The company is hopeful that those environmental dynamics balance out in the near future.

Over the past couple of years, Appalachian has added more than $1 million of new debris removal equipment on both reservoirs and has added Saturday to the work schedule for our removal crews for the near future,” Jackson said. “Personnel from other areas of the organization will be included in the effort when possible and we plan to extend the debris season at Leesville into November of this year as weather and circumstances allow.”

“We are already seeing some results,” he said. “On Saturday, July29, our crew worked in the Brumfield area of Leesville and was able to remove an additional 30 tons of debris.”

Boaters are urged to be vigilant and keep an eye out for floating debris that could cause damage to their watercraft or injury to passengers. Signs warning of the debris are posted at public boat ramps.

Information on the type of debris that Appalachian Power removes, frequently asked questions, and photographs are available to shoreline residents and others in the Smith Mountain Debris Management Plan at http://www.smithmtn.com/DebrisMgmtPlan/Default.aspx

Smith Mountain Project is a 636-megawatt pumped storage hydroelectric facility on the Roanoke River that utilizes an upper reservoir (Smith Mountain Lake) and a lower reservoir (Leesville Lake). Water stored in Smith Mountain Lake passes through turbine-generators in the powerhouse to produce electricity and is discharged into Leesville Lake. From there some water is released through the Leesville Dam or pumped back into Smith Mountain. The project is operated by Appalachian Power.

TESTING OF LEESVILLE DAM GENERATORS WILL INCREASE DOWNSTREAM WATER FLOWS

ROANOKE, Va., July 11, 2017 – Appalachian Power will perform a required capacity test of its electricity generating units at the Leesville Dam on Thursday, July 13 beginning at approximately 3 p.m. and lasting through early Friday morning.

The testing will ramp up the use and operating duration of the generators at the dam and will create water flows that increase slowly over 8 hours, peaking at the dam between 10 and 11 p.m. before decreasing over several hours to normal water release cycling.

Downstream flows will increase at locations on the Roanoke River (also known locally as Staunton River) depending on distance from the dam. The test is not expected to create hazards downstream, but the company urges recreational and commercial users of the river to be aware of the higher and faster temporary water flows that could increase the river water level by up to 8 feet.

The annual testing is required by PJM Interconnection, the regional transmission organization (RTO) that coordinates the movement of wholesale electricity in the mid-Atlantic region. Appalachian will concurrently run both of its generators (20 megawatts each) at Leesville for one hour during the peak test period.

Areas closest to the dam—for example, the Altavista area—could see a slow and total increase in river elevation of about 8 feet reaching a peak between 1 and 2 a.m. Friday. River flows will decrease and return to normal following the test and as the water dissipates further downstream.

Warning sirens at the dam will be sounded before each period of power generation. The public fishing area below the dam will be affected as water height rises. Weather or other circumstances could change the timing of this test.

Leesville Dam is the lower dam of the two-reservoir Smith Mountain pumped storage hydroelectric project operated by Appalachian Power in southwestern Virginia. Leesville operates in Campbell and Pittsylvania counties on the Roanoke River.

BOATERS SHOULD BE AWARE OF POSSIBLE DEBRIS ON SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKES

ROANOKE, Va., May 26, 2017 – Continuing rains and high water events near the Smith Mountain Project in southwest Virginia could add more debris into the project’s two reservoirs this weekend.

Appalachian Power, operator of the project, is reminding boaters on Smith Mountain and Leesville lakes during the holiday weekend to be aware of the potential of floating debris on the water or just below the surface.

The company has used three crews operating on Smith Mountain and Leesville in recent weeks to remove natural and man-made debris from main channels.

If boaters spot dangerous debris, they are urged to safely move it to shore if possible and to report it using this link: http://www.smithmtn.com/DebrisMgmtPlan/ReportDebrisForm.aspx

Appalachian Power has 1 million customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee (as AEP Appalachian Power). It is a unit of American Electric Power, one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity and custom energy solutions to nearly 5.4 million customers in 11 states. AEP owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system, a more than 40,000-mile network that includes more 765-kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined. AEP also operates 224,000 miles of distribution lines. AEP ranks among the nation’s largest generators of electricity, owning approximately 26,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP supplies 3,200 megawatts of renewable energy to customers.

NOTICE TO SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE RESIDENTS AND VISITORS

Reports to Appalachian Power show that rivers feeding the Smith Mountain Project appear to be cresting. They are trending down, but not very quickly. Based on current gauge readings, the company expects Smith Mountain Lake to reach an elevation 796.2. Full pond is the 795-foot contour elevation. Property owners are encouraged to secure possessions and remove anything from within the Project boundaries that might enter into the reservoir and become a navigational hazard. Please monitor http://www.aep.com/environment/conservation/hydro/ and your local weather service for updated information.

NOTICE TO SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE RESIDENTS AND VISITORS

Please be aware that due to high inflow, Smith Mountain Lake will exceed the normal full pond elevation of 795.0. At this time, water elevation is expected to rise to about 795.75. Although upstream river gauges have slowed in their upward trends, none have crested yet. Once crested, we will have a better idea of the extent of surcharge.
read more...

UPCOMING RACES WILL CLOSE SMITH MOUNTAIN PARK AREA AND COULD CAUSE TRAFFIC HAZARDS NEAR LAKES

SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE, Va., March 24, 2017 – Roads and public areas around Smith Mountain and Leesville lakes in Bedford and Pittsylvania counties will be affected Saturday, April 1, by the Second Annual Dam 50K ultra race event.

The event began in 2016 as part of the 50th anniversary of Appalachian Power’s Smith Mountain hydroelectric project.

The 50K race—which covers more than 31 miles—begins at 7:30 a.m. A companion 5k run starts at 8 a.m.

Appalachian Power’s public picnic areas below the Smith Mountain Dam on Ford Road will be closed for use on Friday, March 31 and Saturday, April 1.

Appalachian’s Vipperman Visitor Center above the Smith Mountain Dam will remain open to the public, although extra caution is urged for motorists driving to the location because participants in both events will be using or crossing Ford Road.

Motorists should also remain vigilant for race participants on other Bedford or Pittsylvania county roads near Smith Mountain and Leesville Lake until Saturday afternoon.

Participants may register for the events though March 29 by going to http://ultrasignup.com/register.aspx?did=42159 or http://www.franklincountyymca.org/

ANNUAL BAN OF UNDERWATER EXCAVATION IN EFFECT AT SMITH MOUNTAIN PROJECT LAKES

ROANOKE, Va., Feb. 15, 2017 – Appalachian Power reminds residents and property owners at Smith Mountain and Leesville lakes that dredging and excavation are prohibited between February 15 and June 15 every year and are now in effect.

The restriction on the underwater work coincides with fish spawning season.  Smith Mountain and Leesville lakes are home to a variety of aquatic wildlife species which depend on undisturbed nesting areas for development of eggs.  Fish are sensitive to changes in water temperatures, sunlight penetration and water quality in their spawning habitats.

Additionally, dock construction work—including pile driving—between April 15 and June 15 must be careful to avoid nesting sites for largemouth bass.

Dredging and excavation activities may resume after June 15.  

Underwater dredging could be among planned projects during warm weather, but property owners and contractors must remember that there are requirements and restrictions.

According to Appalachian Power’s Shoreline Management Plan (SMP), maintenance dredging is generally allowed within an existing boat slip and fairway area. But retaining shallow water habitat and avoiding disturbance of fish spawning areas are important to the lake’s ecology.

There are established guidelines for dredging inside the project boundary that are within the oversight of federal or state agencies and Appalachian. Here are a few key requirements:

  • Dredging and/or excavation of all designated wetland areas are prohibited.
  • Dredging less than 25 cubic yards of underwater material may be allowed in certain cases, but Appalachian must be contacted 10 days prior to work.
  • If more than 25 cubic yards are to be dredged, permits must be obtained from Appalachian before work begins.
  • Persons must obtain written Department of the Army authorization from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Norfolk District, prior to commencing work.  Contact information can be found at http://www.nao.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/ or by calling (757) 201-7652.

Requirements for these activities on both lakes can be found beginning on page 71 of the SMP at http://www.smithmtn.com/ShorelineMgmt/Plan/UpdatedSMP03_05_14.pdf

If you have questions about dredging or excavating at Smith Mountain or Leesville lakes, contact the Appalachian Power Shoreline Management team at (540) 985-2982, email aepainter@aep.com, or visit with a company representative available every Friday from1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Smith Mountain Lake Association offices, 400 Scruggs Road, Suite 2100, Moneta, VA 24151.

Smith Mountain Project is a 636-megawatt pumped storage hydroelectric facility owned and operated by Appalachian Power on the Roanoke River. It utilizes an upper reservoir (Smith Mountain Lake) and a lower reservoir (Leesville Lake).  Water stored in Smith Mountain Lake passes through turbine-generators in the powerhouse to produce electricity and is discharged into Leesville Lake.  From there some water is released through the Leesville Dam or pumped back into Smith Mountain. The project is operated by Appalachian Power. The Smith Mountain Project celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2016.

APPALACHIAN POWER ATTACKS DEBRIS BUILDUP IN LEESVILLE LAKE

ROANOKE, Va., Aug. 9, 2016 – Appalachian Power, operator of the Smith Mountain Project in southwest Virginia, announced plans to aggressively attack an unusual buildup of water surface natural debris on Leesville Lake, the lower reservoir of the two-lake hydroelectric generating project. Plans include a cooperative effort with the Leesville Lake Association to immediately hire additional outside assistance.

The lake has been beset since late 2015 and during recent heavy rainstorms with the inflow of debris—including large fallen trees—from Pigg River and other tributaries.

Debris removal has been hampered by the loss of a mechanical skimmer craft that was dedicated by the company to the 17-mile long lake only last year and was recently declared unsafe for use on the water by company employees. Manufacturers’ production schedules and other factors will determine when the company receives delivery of a replacement for the skimmer—a new unit similar to a barge system now used on Smith Mountain Lake.

“Although we continue to remove debris with equipment currently available to Appalachian, we’ve essentially had a perfect storm of debris loading in Leesville,” said Elizabeth Parcell, hydro operations supervisor for Appalachian. “The company is working with the Leesville Lake Association, our own maintenance employees, and contract workers to address the situation as quickly as possible.”

“In the meantime, we urge all users of Leesville Lake to be aware of the debris situation when they are in the water and to operate watercraft in a safe manner,” she added. “We encourage lake residents and visitors to remove debris when they can and report it to the company via our website www.smithmtn.com Large logs may be secured in the cove located between the Leesville Picnic Area and the Leesville Dam should boaters need a location to drop off a log.”

As part of the company’s immediate response to the debris and to clear it as quickly as possible, the company will:

  • Provide $25,000 to the Leesville Lake Association. This will be used to hire and administer an outside contractor to begin immediate assistance in the cleanup of the reservoir.
  • Move quickly to purchase and have delivered a new debris removal system for exclusive set up on Leesville Lake as soon as possible. At a cost of about $400,000, this system will be similar to the equipment now in use on Smith Mountain Lake that provides more flexibility and speed allowing a more efficient operation than the skimmer operation previously used.
  • Continue to use the company’s own lake maintenance crew and additional contractors to remove debris with existing available equipment.
  • Open up additional shoreline locations where the company, contractors and boaters can tie up or drop off debris for removal.

“Appalachian Power will continue to cooperate with and gather input from residents and lake users in an effort to maintain safe operations for hydroelectric generation and recreation,” said Parcell.

Information on type of debris that Appalachian removes, frequently asked questions, and photographs are available to shoreline residents and others in the Smith Mountain Debris Management Plan at www.smithmtn.com/DebrisMgmtPlan/Default.aspx.

Smith Mountain Project is a 636-megawatt pumped storage hydroelectric facility on the Roanoke River that utilizes an upper reservoir (Smith Mountain Lake) and a lower reservoir (Leesville Lake). Water stored in Smith Mountain Lake passes through turbine-generators in the powerhouse to produce electricity and is discharged into Leesville Lake. From there some water is released through the Leesville Dam or pumped back into Smith Mountain. The project is operated by Appalachian Power. The Smith Mountain Project community is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the completion of its construction during 2016.

Appalachian Power has 1 million customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee (as AEP Appalachian Power). It is a unit of American Electric Power, one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity and custom energy solutions to nearly 5.4 million customers in 11 states. AEP owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system, a more than 40,000-mile network that includes more 765-kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined. AEP also operates 223,000 miles of distribution lines. AEP ranks among the nation’s largest generators of electricity, owning approximately 31,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S.

SMITH MOUNTAIN VISITORS CENTER WILL BE INACCESSIBLE DURING ROAD RACE THIS SATURDAY

ROANOKE, Va., March 30, 2016 – Appalachian Power’s Joseph H. Vipperman Visitors Center that sits on the Bedford County side of the Smith Mountain gap will not be accessible during part of its regular hours on Saturday, April 2. The 2016 Smith Mountain Lake Dam 50K race and related runs, part of the area communities’ celebration of the Smith Mountain Project 50th anniversary celebration, will occur, in part, along the only roadway that leads to the center.

The visitors center is normally open from 9:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. on Saturdays, but will not be available to visitors until noon on this date only.

The 31-plus mile race course will go up and down through the Blue Ridge peaks in parts of Pittsylvania and Bedford counties starting below Smith Mountain dam on the Leesville Lake bridge at 7:30 a.m. Related 5K and “fun” runs will follow the start of the long run.

The challenging 50K race is set to begin on the bridge, taking runners up the winding road toward the visitor center and then heading east on a trail across the Bedford County side of Smith Mountain. The remainder of the race includes a mix of surface roads and trails with an elevation gain of more than 4100 feet. It also includes the western Pittsylvania County side of the Smith Mountain gap.

The event is being staged by the Franklin County YMCA. Appalachian Power is a race sponsor. Additional race information can be found here: http://www.franklincountyymca.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=31&Itemid=208.

Smith Mountain Project is a 636-megawatt pumped storage hydroelectric facility on the Roanoke River that utilizes an upper reservoir (Smith Mountain Lake) and a lower reservoir

NEW FLOATING BARRIER AT SMITH MOUNTAIN DAM IS MORE VISIBLE TO BOATERS

SANDY LEVEL, Va., Jan. 19, 2016 – Appalachian Power has installed upstream of the Smith Mountain Dam a new floating boat barrier that is more visible and less prone to damage than the system it replaces. The barrier safely keeps unknowing boaters away from the intake side of the dam.

The new barrier spans the dam fore bay between the Bedford and Pittsylvania county sides of the 800-foot-wide Smith Mountain gap. It is about 840-feet in length to allow for flexing during the generation and pump-back cycles of normal plant operations and inclement weather.

The barrier floats are 3-feet in diameter and 4-feet in length. They are made of thick wall plastic and are extremely visible with a bright orange finish.

The floating units are UV-resistant, connected with galvanized chain and hardware, and meet U.S. Coast Guard requirements. There are three lighted buoys spaced evenly across the barrier increasing night-time visibility and safety on Smith Mountain Lake.

The new barrier was installed recently during a planned generation maintenance outage at the Smith Mountain power plant.

It replaces on old system that consisted of floating metal barrels, cables and vertical posts for warning signs and lights. The old unit was sometimes affected by high winds and ice and, as recently as February 2015, was partially flipped underwater by severe weather.

Smith Mountain Project is a 636-megawatt pumped storage hydroelectric facility on the Roanoke River that utilizes an upper reservoir (Smith Mountain Lake) and a lower reservoir (Leesville Lake). Water stored in Smith Mountain Lake passes through turbine-generators in the powerhouse to produce electricity and is discharged into Leesville Lake. From there some water is released through the Leesville Dam or pumped back into Smith Mountain. The project is operated by Appalachian Power. In 2016, the Smith Mountain Project celebrates the 50th anniversary of the completion of its construction.

It Is Time to Plan for 2016 Smith Mountain Shoreline Projects

ROANOKE, Va., Dec. 3, 2015 – With holidays upon us, Appalachian Power reminds lake residents and property owners around the Smith Mountain Project that it’s never too early to start planning shoreline projects for 2016.

Appalachian’s Shoreline Management staff is ready to assist in the review of permit applications for boat docks, piers, landings, vegetation management, and shoreline stabilization at Smith Mountain and Leesville lakes. Property owners are encouraged to contact the Appalachian staff early in the planning process.

Members of the shoreline management team are available to discuss shoreline plans by phone, appointment, or on a walk-in basis at our Smith Mountain Project Shoreline Management customer service facility, located in the Smith Mountain Lake Association (SMLA) office, Suite 2100 (lower level) of the Lakewood Professional Center, 400 Scruggs Road (Rt. 616), Moneta, Va.

Walk-in assistance will be offered at the SMLA location on Tuesday and Friday afternoons, 1:00 – 4:30 p.m., throughout the month of December. The service will not be available at SMLA on Friday, Dec. 25, or Friday, Jan. 1, 2016.

After Jan. 1 and throughout the winter months, Appalachian staff will offer walk-in assistance at the SMLA location on Friday afternoons, 1:00 – 4:30 p.m. Appalachian staff is available at other times by advance appointment, either in its downtown Roanoke office or the Appalachian Power service center in Rocky Mount. Appointments may be scheduled by calling (540) 985-2544.

Information about shoreline management, including application forms, contacts, and frequently asked questions, are available on the company’s website at www.smithmtn.com. Online users can like the company’s Smith Mountain Project Facebook page at www.facebook.com/SmithMtnProject.

Smith Mountain Project is a 636-megawatt pumped storage hydroelectric facility on the Roanoke River. It was built and is operated by Appalachian Power. Appalachian Power has 1 million customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee (as AEP Appalachian Power). It is a unit of American Electric Power, one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity to more than 5 million customers in 11 states. AEP ranks among the nation’s largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 32,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP also owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system, a 40,000-mile network that includes more 765-kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined.

Appalachian Power Monitoring Virginia Hydro Plants in Anticipation of More Heavy Rain

ROANOKE, Va., Sept. 30, 2015 – Appalachian Power, operator of seven hydroelectric plants in southwest Virginia, is taking precautions in anticipation of more heavy rain and potential flooding that may occur in the New River and Roanoke River watersheds. Forecasts predict heavy rain to begin Thursday, Oct. 1, and last through the weekend.

Because of the rapid rise of inflow due to recent rains, the Smith Mountain Project is expected to rise—or surcharge—above its full-pond elevation. As a result, Appalachian is discharging as much water as possible from both project lakes (Smith Mountain and Leesville) before the new weather event. It is doing so as safely as possible so as not to increase downstream flooding.

The actual Smith Mountain reservoir elevation was 794.81 feet at 2:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 30. Full pond for Smith Mountain Lake is 795.00 feet. Additional heavy rain could increase the lake elevation to a much higher level at Smith Mountain. The Leesville reservoir is not expected to exceed its full pond level of 613 feet.

While Appalachian expects the level at Smith Mountain will rise above the full pond, it cannot predict how high or when that will be until the Roanoke River crests. Lakeside property owners and marinas should take proper precautions to secure boats, docks and loose items above the 795-foot contour to protect them from rising water.

Residents and area businesses are encouraged to monitor local weather forecasts and the company’s website http://www.aep.com/environment/conservation/hydro/ for updated information.

Appalachian is also lowering levels of the reservoirs behind Buck, Byllesby and Claytor dams on New River. It is monitoring conditions at Niagara Dam on the Roanoke River and Reusens on the James River.

Heavy Rains May Push Smith Mountain Lake above Full Pond Levels

ROANOKE, Va., Sept. 29, 2015 – Because of the rapid rise of inflow due to heavy rains, Smith Mountain Project is expected to rise above its full-pond elevation.

As of 6:00 p.m. today, the inflow to the Smith Mountain Project was 39,457 cubic feet per second (cfs); discharge from the Leesville Dam into the Staunton (Roanoke) River was 10,813 cfs. Appalachian Power is running two generating units and has opened a spill gate at Leesville.

The adjusted reservoir elevation was 795.24 feet. Full pond for Smith Mountain Lake is 795.00.

Appalachian expects the level at Smith Mountain will rises above the full pond but does not know how high or when that will be until the Roanoke River crests.

Lakeside property owners and marinas should take proper precautions to secure boats, docks and other property from rising water.

Residents and area business are encouraged to monitor weather forecasts and the company’s website http://www.aep.com/environment/conservation/hydro/

Appalachian Power has 1 million customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee (as AEP Appalachian Power).

Smith Mountain Project is a 636-megawatt pumped storage hydroelectric facility on the Roanoke River that utilizes an upper reservoir (Smith Mountain Lake) and a lower reservoir (Leesville Lake). Water stored in Smith Mountain Lake first passes through turbine-generators in the powerhouse to produce electricity and is discharged into Leesville Lake. From there some water is released through the Leesville Dam or pumped back into Smith Mountain.

Lack of Adequate Rainfall Begins to Impact Smith Mountain Project Water Levels; Boaters Should Be Aware of Shallow Areas

ROANOKE, Va., Sept. 15, 2015 – Appalachian Power, operator of the Smith Mountain Project in southwest Virginia, urges added caution by boaters on both of its lakes because of the lack of recent sizeable rainfall in the project's watershed.

The adjusted level of the lakes is currently down more than two feet from full pond and during periods of power generation, when water passes through the dams, levels may be lowered even more and expose shoals to unsuspecting boaters.

"We have had isolated and sometimes heavy rain, but nothing widespread since July that will positively affect the levels at Smith Mountain," said Kenneth Morrison who manages navigation and recreational aspects of the more than 20,000 surface-acre facility. "We need to receive some sustained measurable rainfall around the Roanoke, Blackwater and Pigg rivers to bring levels back up."

"July, August and September are historically our dry months every year," Morrison added.

During this period of lower water levels at both Smith Mountain and Leesville lakes, boaters should be more observant and use lower speeds, especially along shorelines, in coves, near islands, and in low light. Boat passengers should always wear approved personal flotation gear on the water.

Appalachian Power has been operating the Smith Mountain Project under mandated water release protocol during summer months using releases that allow a minimum flow of water to accommodate recreational and commercial activities downriver. After Labor Day, the minimum discharge was reduced by about one-third.

Lake residents, regular boaters and visitors can view current lake levels and in-flow/discharge information at http://www.aep.com/environment/conservation/hydro/ .

Appalachian Power has 1 million customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee (as AEP Appalachian Power). It is a unit of American Electric Power, one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity to more than 5 million customers in 11 states. AEP ranks among the nation's largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 32,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP also owns the nation's largest electricity transmission system, a 40,000-mile network that includes more 765-kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined.

Smith Mountain Project is a 636-megawatt pumped storage hydroelectric facility on the Roanoke River that utilizes an upper reservoir (Smith Mountain Lake) and a lower reservoir (Leesville Lake). Water stored in Smith Mountain Lake first passes through turbine-generators in the powerhouse to produce electricity and is discharged into Leesville Lake. From there some water is released through the Leesville Dam or pumped back into Smith Mountain. The project is operated by Appalachian Power.

 

Head of Appalachian Power Smith Mountain Shoreline Management Plan Team to Leave

ROANOKE, Va., Aug. 11, 2015 — Appalachian Power is making two personnel changes that impact operations at its Smith Mountain Pumped Storage Project and other hydroelectric generating facilities in Virginia.

Bradley R. Jones, manager of the Glen Lyn Power Plant in Giles County, Va., has replaced Frank M. Simms who retired July 31 as manager of hydro operations for American Electric Power (AEP) and Appalachian Power.

Named to lead the company's Shoreline Management team at Smith Mountain Project is Neil Holthouser, currently director of planning and community development for Franklin County, Va.

The announcements were made by Jeff LaFleur, Appalachian's vice president of generation assets.

"Frank Simms was a key part of our generation group and successfully led our hydro organization through major issues including the recently completed relicensing cycle for all of the AEP hydro plants and introduction of the Shoreline Management Plan at the Smith Mountain Project," LaFleur said. "We are grateful for his 32 years of service with AEP."

"The opportunity to move Brad into this position will be very positive," he added. "The job will draw on Brad's experience in the company's generation organization, his knowledge of regulatory issues, and his community outreach."

Jones will oversee Appalachian's hydroelectric projects in Virginia and West Virginia as well as all other hydro generation throughout the AEP system. He will continue to oversee the Glen Lyn plant retirement while he takes on the hydro leadership. Glen Lyn officially ceased generation May 31 as part of the company's compliance with federal environmental requirements.

Jones has been manager of Glen Lyn since 2003. He moved to the plant in 1994 as assistant manager after 15 years at Indiana Michigan Power's (I&M) Breed Power Plant. He joined I&M after graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree from Purdue University in 1978. Jones also attended management school at Ohio State University.

In late August, Holthouser will join Appalachian Power as the administrator of the company's Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) at the Smith Mountain Project. He replaces Patricia Dade, who left in July to pursue outside business interests.

The SMP is the guiding document of appropriate shoreline use for protecting the lakes and for the company's primary function of providing reliable electricity at the Smith Mountain Project. It guides the management of natural resources, land use, license requirements, development and the environment. Holthouser and his team will be the company's primary contact with property owners and contractors for construction and other shoreline work within the project's boundaries.

Holthouser has 15 years of experience in the field of urban planning with a specialization in comprehensive planning, community development and design review. In addition to his seven years with Franklin County government, he held positions in Ashland and Roanoke, Va., Greenville, N.C., and Boulder, Colo.

Jones and Holthouser will have offices in Roanoke.

Appalachian Power has 1 million customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee (as AEP Appalachian Power). It is a unit of American Electric Power, one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity to more than 5 million customers in 11 states. AEP ranks among the nation's largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 32,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP also owns the nation's largest electricity transmission system, a 40,000-mile network that includes more 765-kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined. he SMP is the guiding document of appropriate shoreline use protecting the lake and the company's primary function of providing reliable electricity at the Smith Mountain Project. It guides the management of natural resources, land use, license requirements, development and the environment.

 

 

Head of Appalachian Power Smith Mountain Shoreline Management Plan Team to Leave

ROANOKE, Va., June 30, 2015 – The administrator of Appalachian Power's Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) at the Smith Mountain Project has announced her intention to leave the position. Patricia G. Dade has served in the position for two years and will leave the company July 7 to pursue other interests.

"Patricia has been an important part of our team at Appalachian Power," said Frank Simms, manager of the company's hydroelectric generation. "She has been a critical part of the rollout of the revised SMP at Smith Mountain and Leesville lakes and provided significant relationship building and interaction among the numerous stakeholders in our surrounding communities."

"We have already begun what may be a difficult process to find a suitable replacement for her. We will get that done as quickly as possible and ask for your patience during that period," Simms added. Dade was hired by Appalachian in 2008 and has been working in positions with the Shoreline Management Group since that time.

While the search for a replacement takes place, Simms said that persons who would normally contact Dade directly should call the SMP team at (540)985-2579 or visit our website (http://www.smithmtn.com/ShorelineMgmt/Plan.aspx) for detailed information and forms for SMP-related projects. 

The SMP is the guiding document of appropriate shoreline use protecting the lake and the company's primary function of providing reliable electricity at the Smith Mountain Project. It guides the management of natural resources, land use, license requirements, development and the environment.

 

Scruggs Public Boat Access Reopens on Smith Mountain Lake

ROANOKE, Va., May 15, 2015 – Appalachian Power, operator of the Smith Mountain hydroelectric power generation project in southwest Virginia, has reopened to the public the Scruggs boating access facility on Smith Mountain Lake after extensive updating and expansion.

The facility, located at 1755 Dudley Amos Road in Moneta and at the B12 navigation marker on the water, is one of nine public access facilities created by Appalachian Power on Smith Mountain and Leesville lakes. Work began on the existing Scruggs location in early 2015, shortly after the company dedicated its most recent new facility, the $1-million 10-acre Oak Grove location.

Scruggs reopened to the public after passing Franklin County construction inspections May 12. The total cost for the project was about $350,000.

Work at the site includes an increase in the number of parking spaces to accommodate 22 vehicles, updated restroom facilities, new dusk-to-dawn lighting, a new fishing pier and additional bank fishing areas, and a repositioned paved boat ramp and courtesy pier.

The updated facility is operated by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and allows greater public access to everything offered by the lake including its natural beauty and recreational activities.

Appalachian Power's Smith Mountain Project is a 636-megawatt pumped storage hydroelectric facility that utilizes an upper reservoir (Smith Mountain Lake) and a lower reservoir (Leesville Lake). Water stored in Smith Mountain Lake passes through turbine-generators in the powerhouse to produce electricity and is discharged into Leesville Lake. Most of the water is retained in Leesville Lake and pumped back into the Smith Mountain Lake for re-use. Some of the water goes through the turbine-generators at the Leesville powerhouse to generate additional electricity and to meet the minimum discharge requirements of the project's operating license.

 

Some Appalachian Power Property on Smith Mountain Lake Will Be Sold

ROANOKE, Va., May 13, 2015 – Appalachian Power, operator of the Smith Mountain hydroelectric power generation project in southwest Virginia, has announced that it plans to sell approximately 145 acres of lakefront property it owns on Smith Mountain Lake in Franklin County. The property will be sold at auction in the fall of 2015.

The tract is widely known as the "Kennedy property" and is located in the Union Hall District near Penhook. It includes almost three miles of shoreline and could be sold as 24 separate tracts of various sizes or in one large piece.

An auction is tentatively set for early October. Bids can be submitted for individual tracts, a combination of tracts, or for the entire property allowing for a range of potential buyers from single homeowners to developers.

The auction will be managed by Roanoke firm Woltz & Associates. Additional details will be announced by the firm.

Appalachian Power purchased the property in the early 1960s in preparation for construction of the Smith Mountain Project. Since that time, Smith Mountain and Leesville lakes have been the anchor for economic growth and tourism in the region. The project will celebrate its 50th Anniversary in 2016.

Appalachian Power's Smith Mountain Project is a 636-megawatt pumped storage hydroelectric facility that utilizes an upper reservoir (Smith Mountain Lake) and a lower reservoir (Leesville Lake). Water stored in Smith Mountain Lake passes through turbine-generators in the powerhouse to produce electricity and is discharged into Leesville Lake. Most of the water is retained in Leesville Lake and pumped back into the Smith Mountain Lake for re-use. Some of the water goes through the turbine-generators at the Leesville powerhouse to generate additional electricity and to meet the minimum discharge requirements of the project's operating license.

 

 

Smith Mountain Dam Boat Barrier Has Been Repaired

ROANOKE, Va., March 13, 2015 – Appalachian Power has completed repairs to a floating boat barrier that flipped underwater near the Smith Mountain Lake Dam last month. The barrier's top section was knocked over by a combination of ice buildup, snow and wind and was discovered Feb. 22.

Because vertical sections of the barrier were underwater, the structure was harder to see by boaters on the lake surface. However, three companion lighted buoys remained operational and were visible at night.

A contractor for Appalachian repaired and righted the 1,000-ft. barrier earlier this week. The structure runs between the Bedford and Pittsylvania County slopes of the Smith Mountain gap where the dam is located. It is between navigational marker R1 and the dam and was designed to keep boats away from dangerous power generation areas.

Appalachian had ordered a new boat barrier and warning system for the location before the winter damage occurred. The new structure is expected to be in place by fall 2015.

Appalachian Power's Smith Mountain Project is a 636-megawatt pumped storage hydroelectric facility that utilizes an upper reservoir (Smith Mountain Lake) and a lower reservoir (Leesville Lake). Water stored in Smith Mountain Lake first passes through turbine-generators in the powerhouse to produce electricity and is discharged into Leesville Lake. Most of the water is retained in Leesville Lake and pumped back into the Smith Mountain Lake for re-use. A portion of the water goes through the turbine-generators at the Leesville powerhouse to generate additional electricity and to meet the minimum discharge requirements of the project's operating license.

 

 

Boat Barrier Damaged Upstream of Smith Mountain Dam

ROANOKE, Va., Feb. 22, 2015 – Appalachian Power is warning boaters on Smith Mountain Lake to be aware of possible hazardous conditions near the dam where part of a boat barrier has flipped over into the water. The barrier has vertical poles attached to its floating sections and is linked by cables holding warning signs, but many of those are now underwater making the barrier hard to see from the lake surface.

The barrier is even less visible in the dark. However, three companion lighted buoys remain operational and visible at night.

Appalachian is working with an outside contractor to fully inspect the location and to repair damage as quickly as possible.

The floating barrier is about 1,000 feet in length and runs between the Bedford and Pittsylvania County slopes of the Smith Mountain gap where the dam is located. It is between navigational marker R1 and the dam and is designed to keep boats away from dangerous areas of the dam and power generation facilities.

Appalachian Power's Smith Mountain Project is a 636-megawatt pumped storage hydroelectric facility that utilizes an upper reservoir (Smith Mountain Lake) and a lower reservoir (Leesville Lake).  Water stored in Smith Mountain Lake first passes through turbine-generators in the powerhouse to produce electricity and is discharged into Leesville Lake.  Most of the water is retained in Leesville Lake and pumped back into the Smith Mountain Lake for re-use.  A portion of the water goes through the turbine-generators at the Leesville powerhouse to generate additional electricity and to meet the minimum discharge requirements of the project's operating license.

 

Notice of Virginia DEQ Water Permit Public Meeting

ROANOKE, Va., Feb. 3, 2015 - Pursuant to Part I.E.2 of Virginia Water Protection (VWP) Individual Permit Number 08-0572 (Permit) issued by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for the Smith Mountain Project (Project), Appalachian Power Company (Appalachian) will hold a public meeting on Thursday, February 12 at 7 PM at the Trinity Ecumenical Parish, 40 Lakemount Drive, Moneta, Virginia to receive comments from interested stakeholders and citizens on the performance of the Project in regards to activities authorized by the VWP Permit. Appalachian personnel will be available prior to the meeting to answer questions on Project operations.

Appalachian will compile, summarize and submit comments to DEQ. DEQ will evaluate the performance of the project in maintaining lake levels and providing releases necessary to protect instream beneficial uses. DEQ's evaluation will be based upon the previous five years of operations under the existing permit, comments received, and any recommendations set forth by Appalachian.

Comments may also be mailed to Appalachian Power Company, Hydro Generation, P.O. Box 2021, Roanoke, Virginia, 24022-2121 or emailed to esbrennan@aep.com. Comments will be accepted between February 2 and March 3, 2015.

 

Appalachian Power Announces New Shoreline Management Customer Service Facility

ROANOKE, Va., Jan. 21, 2015 – Appalachian Power will open its Smith Mountain Project Shoreline Management customer service facility at a new Moneta, Va. location effective Jan. 27.

Beginning that day, an Appalachian representative will be available every Tuesday and Friday from 1:00 until 4:30 p.m. at the Smith Mountain Lake Association (SMLA) office. The office is located on the lower level of the Lakewood Professional Center, Suite 2100, 400 Scruggs Rd. (Rt. 616), Moneta.

Visitors will not need an appointment to ask general questions about shoreline management at Smith Mountain and Leesville lakes. Property owners can still call for appointments at (540) 985-2579 to meet representatives in the company's Roanoke office regarding in-depth topics such as dock construction applications.

Visit the company's website at www.SmithMtn.com for more information and frequently-asked questions about the Shoreline Management Plan.

 

Appalachian Power Shoreline Management Customer Service Facility will Relocate

ROANOKE, Va., December 29, 2014 – Appalachian Power will close its Smith Mountain Project Shoreline Management customer service facility at its current location at the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce effective Dec. 31. A new location will be announced soon.

An Appalachian employee has been at the location since mid-2013. Additional hours were added this year. Lakes-area residents have been able to receive direct information about the Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) during that time without an appointment on two afternoons each week.

Until the new location is established, residents or their representatives can find information on the company's website at www.SmithMtn.com or contact a Shoreline Management representative directly by calling (540) 985-2579.

The company is finalizing plans for the new facility which will also be in an easily accessible location.

Smith Mountain Project is a 636-megawatt pumped storage hydroelectric facility that utilizes an upper reservoir (Smith Mountain Lake) and a lower reservoir (Leesville Lake). Water stored in Smith Mountain Lake first passes through turbine-generators in the powerhouse to produce electricity and is discharged into Leesville Lake.

Appalachian Power has 1 million customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee (as AEP Appalachian Power). It is a unit of American Electric Power, one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, which delivers electricity to more than 5 million customers in 11 states. AEP ranks among the nation's largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 38,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S.

 

Appalachian Power opens new public boating access factility on Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia

ROANOKE, Va., December 12, 2014 – Appalachian Power has officially opened its Oak Grove Public Boating Access Facility that will serve visitors on the company's Smith Mountain Lake. The 10-acre, $1-million public area is centrally-located near Hales Ford Bridge in Franklin County.

The handicap-accessible facility includes a double-sized boat launching ramp, a large fishing pier, more than 60 parking spaces, public restrooms, and "dark skies" lighting. It is available to visitors at no charge.

Oak Grove was dedicated today in a short ceremony hosted by Appalachian Power officials and attended by representatives of state agencies, Franklin County, the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce, and neighboring residents.

It will be operated by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. Oak Grove is the latest of nine public access facilities created by Appalachian Power on Smith Mountain and Leesville Lakes, both part of the Smith Mountain hydroelectric project.

To access the Oak Grove facility from Route 122, visitors can take Merriman Road (Route 666) to Oldfield Road (Route 978) and follow it to Oak Grove Drive (Route 1230).

Smith Mountain Project is a 636-megawatt pumped storage hydroelectric facility that utilizes an upper reservoir (Smith Mountain Lake) and a lower reservoir (Leesville Lake). Water stored in Smith Mountain Lake first passes through turbine-generators in the powerhouse to produce electricity and is discharged into Leesville Lake. Most of the water is retained in Leesville Lake and pumped back into the Smith Mountain Lake for re-use. A portion of the water goes through the turbine-generators at the Leesville powerhouse to generate additional electricity and to meet the minimum discharge requirements of the project's operating license.

Appalachian Power has 1 million customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee (as AEP Appalachian Power). It is a unit of American Electric Power, one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, which delivers electricity to more than 5 million customers in 11 states. AEP ranks among the nation's largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 38,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP also owns the nation's largest electricity transmission system, a nearly 39,000-mile network that includes more 765 kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined.

 

Shoreline Management team moves to new office October 17; phone numbers changing

ROANOKE, Va., October 09, 2014 -- Appalachian Power will relocate its Shoreline Management office from Rocky Mount to the Appalachian Power building at 40 Franklin Road, Roanoke on October 17, 2014. The office will be closed on October 17, 2014 for the relocation of employees.

An Appalachian Power representative is available to meet with property owners for general questions about shoreline management at Smith Mountain Lake on Wednesdays from 1 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. at the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce located adjacent to Halesford Bridge at 16430 Booker T. Washington Highway in Moneta. Beginning October 24, 2014, additional hours will be added on Fridays from 1 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. No appointment is necessary.

Appalachian Power will continue to meet with property owners by appointment at the company's new location to review in-depth topics including dock applications and permits. Customers may call for an appointment on (540)489-2556 (until October 31, 2014) and (540)985-2579 (after October 20, 2014). Both numbers will be in operation during the transition.

 

Hydro Generation Sends Informational Letter to Lakes' Residents Updating Shoreline Management Plan

Provides some clarification and information about Appalachian Power's role in the ongoing operation of the Smith Mountain project.
read more...

 

Appalachian Power Shoreline Management staff will join other Hydro Generation employees in Roanoke

ROANOKE, Virginia, June 30, 2014 – Appalachian Power will consolidate area hydro operations employees into one Roanoke office location later this year. The move includes the Smith Mountain Project Shoreline Management staff currently housed in the company's distribution service center at Rocky Mount which will remain open.

The combined hydro office will be located in Appalachian's downtown Roanoke office building at Franklin Rd. and 1st Street. A timetable for the move has not been established, but the six hydro employees housed at Rocky Mount will not relocate until after the busy summer season.

Shoreline Management staff will continue to provide all essential lake services for residents and commercial businesses and contractors within the Smith Mountain Project area. Employees will process applications, set up appointments, and conduct inspections at sites on the lakes and adjacent properties.

The company will maintain its office hours every Wednesday from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. at the Smith Mountain Regional Chamber of Commerce. The company is also seeking final approval to add another day each week to this schedule. A drop box for applications will remain available at the Rocky Mount office location.

This move will help eliminate overcrowding at the Rocky Mount building that was intended primarily as an operations service center for Appalachian. The location was built in the mid-1980s and originally housed a customer service center, line crews, maintenance shops, and supplies storage.

Hydro employees working on activities at the Smith Mountain Project began sharing a small section of the building in the late 1990s. As responsibilities and number of employees grew, the space became too small for the group and its growing number of files. The employees also handle responsibilities for the company's other hydro operations in Virginia including the Claytor Lake Project on New River.

Additional information regarding the move will be distributed when it is available.

Appalachian Power has 1 million customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee (as AEP Appalachian Power). It is a unit of American Electric Power, one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, which delivers electricity to more than 5 million customers in 11 states. AEP ranks among the nation's largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 38,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP also owns the nation's largest electricity transmission system, a nearly 39,000-mile network that includes more 765 kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined.

 

Appalachian Power Updates Smith Mountain Shoreline Plan; Full Document and FAQs Available on Website

ROANOKE, Va., March 20, 2014 – The revised Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) for Appalachian Power's Smith Mountain Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Project in Virginia is available in its entirety online.

Property owners, businesses, contractors and other interested parties can find the SMP at www.smithmtn.com .  Also available on the site are application documents and a set of Frequently Asked Questions about the plan.

For area residents who do not have internet access, paper copies of the SMP are available at the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Bedford Visitors Center, and at public libraries in Rocky Mount, Westlake, Moneta, Gretna and Bedford.

As licensee and operator of the power generation project, Appalachian is required by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to develop and maintain a comprehensive plan that regulates use of the shoreline and ensures protection and enhancement of the project's resources at its two reservoirs—Smith Mountain and Leesville Lakes.  The latest SMP was updated with significant community input and approved by FERC earlier this year.

Some of the key changes adopted in the 2014 Shoreline Management Plan:

  • Revised parameters for vegetation removal and replacement
  • Minimum water depths for dock construction
  • Creation of a Legacy Program
  • Provisions to enhance protection of the islands
  • New methodology for determining one-third of a cove

Lakes-area civic or professional groups can contact Appalachian Power's Patricia Dade at pgdade@aep.com or (540) 489-2564 to arrange a presentation of the SMP key changes.   An Appalachian Power representative is available at the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce office on Wednesdays from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. for general inquiries.

Appalachian also provides these direct contacts for specific needs and services at the lakes:

  • Dock applications and general inquiries: Lisa Hammock at lhhammock@aep.com or (540) 489-2556
  • Dock status requests for properties for sale: Ed Brennan at esbrennan@aep.com or (540) 489-2540
  • Vegetation or shoreline stabilization applications or inquiries: Mark McGlothlin at jmmcglothlin@aep.com or (540) 489-2562
  • Dredging applications or inquiries: Ken Stump at kjstump@aep.com or (540) 489-2543  

Smith Mountain Project is a 636-megawatt pumped storage hydroelectric facility that utilizes an upper reservoir (Smith Mountain Lake) and a lower reservoir (Leesville Lake).  Water stored in Smith Mountain Lake first passes through turbine-generators in the powerhouse to produce electricity and is discharged into Leesville Lake.  Most of the water is retained in Leesville Lake and pumped back into the Smith Mountain Lake for re-use.  A portion of the water goes through the turbine-generators at the Leesville powerhouse to generate additional electricity and to meet the minimum discharge requirements of the project's operating license.
Appalachian Power has 1 million customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee (as AEP Appalachian Power). It is a unit of American Electric Power, one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, which delivers electricity to more than 5 million customers in 11 states. AEP ranks among the nation's largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 38,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP also owns the nation's largest electricity transmission system, a nearly 39,000-mile network that includes more 765 kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined. 

 

Appalachian Power Announces New Office Hours At Smith Mountain Lake Chamber

Roanoke, Va., May 28, 2013, 2013 – Appalachian Power is offering new office hours to meet with property owners with general questions about shoreline management at Smith Mountain Lake. Beginning June 5, an Appalachian Power employee will be available Wednesdays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce located at 16430 Booker T. Washington Highway in Moneta.

Appalachian Power representatives will continue to meet with property owners by appointment at the company's office building in Rocky Mount to review more in-depth topics such as shoreline management applications or dock permits. Customers can call Appalachian Power for an appointment at (540) 489-2556.

"As longtime members of the Smith Mountain Lake Chamber, we know the importance that the organization places on communication and we're grateful for the opportunity to partner with them to offer this new service to the lake community," said Larry Jackson, Appalachian Power external affairs manager. "This is an excellent opportunity for us to strengthen our relationship with the Chamber and shoreline neighbors."

Appalachian Power has about 1 million customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee (as AEP Appalachian Power). It is a unit of American Electric Power, one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, which delivers electricity to more than 5 million customers in 11 states. AEP ranks among the nation's largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 38,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP also owns the nation's largest electricity transmission system, a nearly 39,000-mile network that includes more 765 kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined.

 

528 Tons of Debris Removed From Smith Mountain Reservoir

ROANOKE, Va., March 5, 2013 – The high-water event that helped fill the Smith Mountain Project this winter also washed clean the riverbanks of the tributaries that feed it. In the last few weeks alone Appalachian Power removed 528 tons of mostly woody debris from the Roanoke River arm of Smith Mountain Lake.

"When high water follows drought conditions, it often washes trees, limbs, trash and other debris into the reservoir," said Teresa Rogers, process supervisor for Hydro Generation Appalachian Power. "This year it's washed even more floating debris into the lake than normal because the water rose so quickly and with such force."

The Smith Mountain Pumped Storage Project is a two-reservoir hydroelectric facility that generates electricity at a dam between the gap in Smith Mountain. Water used for generating electricity is then captured downstream in Leesville Lake where it is pumped back in to Smith Mountain Lake to generate again. The company operates the project under a license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. As part of the company's license it is responsible for removing debris from the navigational channels on the lake when certain conditions arise. More details on the Debris Management Plan, including how to report debris problems, can be found on-line at www.smithmtn.com.

"The good news is that in addition to removing 1,056,000 pounds of debris, so far clean-up crews found significantly less man-made debris than in years past," Rogers said. "This is a testament to the volunteer river clean-up efforts upstream in recent years."

The debris-removal crew will finish up on the Roanoke River arm then move to the Blackwater arm of Smith Mountain Lake and Leesville Lake.

Appalachian Power officials remind boaters to use safe boating practices and watch for floating or submerged debris, especially this time of year.

"While we certainly are able to have an impact on the debris in the lake, it is impossible to remove every piece of floating debris that enters the lake," Rogers added.

Appalachian Power has 1 million customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee (as AEP Appalachian Power). It is a unit of American Electric Power, one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, which delivers electricity to more than 5 million customers in 11 states. AEP ranks among the nation's largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 38,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP also owns the nation's largest electricity transmission system, a nearly 39,000-mile network that includes more 765 kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined.

 

Parties Propose Changes To Smith Mountain Project Shoreline Plan

ROANOKE, Va., Feb. 28, 2013 – Changes in how the shoreline is managed at Smith Mountain and Leesville lakes could be on the way if the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) adopts a proposal it received today by several parties.

For more than a year Appalachian Power, Bedford, Campbell, Pittsylvania and Franklin counties, the Tri-County AEP Relicensing Committee (TCRC) and local resident Bill Brush have participated in a FERC dispute resolution process to address issues related to how the shoreline is managed at the reservoirs.

"As is the case with most any settlement, not every party got everything that they wanted from this process," said Charles Patton, Appalachian Power president and COO. "However, the parties have worked diligently over the last 14 months to try to achieve a plan that ultimately supports the best interests of the lake and the lake community, while at the same time ensuring the successful and efficient operation of the hydroelectric facility. I commend the parties for their efforts and dedication to the lake and the people who live and work around it."

Since 2003 the land closest to the water at the reservoirs has been managed under a Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) approved by the FERC, which has regulatory authority over the project. The goal of the plan is to protect the scenic, recreational and environmental qualities of the lakes. Specifically, the plan addresses subjects like marinas, boat slips, and installation of erosion controls like rip-rap and shoreline vegetation as well as guidelines on constructing or maintaining docks, among other things.

"We are pleased that the Tri-County Relicensing Committee, Appalachian Power, and the counties surrounding Smith Mountain and Leesville lakes have been able to resolve many of the difficult issues that were a part of the previously proposed SMP, and hope that all of the parties will be able to work together going forward for the benefit of our citizens and businesses," said Bob Camicia, chairman of TCRC and Franklin County supervisor.

The Smith Mountain Project boundary for Smith Mountain Lake is the 800' topographical contour line, and for Leesville it is 620'. The shoreline management plan can be found on-line at www.smithmtn.com.

The Smith Mountain Project is a two-reservoir hydroelectric generation project that uses pumped-storage system to provide low-cost electricity for the region and, at the same time, is a driver for the surrounding area's economy and a focal point for residential, tourism and outdoor activities.

Appalachian Power has 1 million customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee (as AEP Appalachian Power). It is a unit of American Electric Power, one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, which delivers electricity to more than 5 million customers in 11 states. AEP ranks among the nation's largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 38,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP also owns the nation's largest electricity transmission system, a nearly 39,000-mile network that includes more 765 kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined.

 

Appalachian Power Ends Water Release Variance From Smith Mountain Project

ROANOKE, Va., February 22, 2013 – Water flows from Appalachian Power's Smith Mountain Pumped Storage Project are once again normal. The company releases water from the project into the Staunton River under a water release plan approved by state and federal regulators. From December 21 to January 18, water releases were lower than normal and done under a variance approved by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).

"We're pleased that the water management plan worked as intended," said Teresa Rogers, process supervisor for the Hydro Generation Department at Appalachian Power. "Late last year, as we headed deeper into drought conditions we were able to adjust water releases under the approved plan. Once merited, we were able to consult with state agencies and stakeholders to ultimately seek and attain the variance to further decrease releases."

Cutting the flows as detailed in the plan, then implementing the variance in conjunction with rain events that occurred resulted in the Smith Mountain Project filling to normal operating levels on January 18.

"We will continue to conference with stakeholders monthly and monitor flows as we go into Spring when water releases increase to accommodate striped bass spawning downstream," Rogers said.

Appalachian developed the recommended variance releases in consultation with various stakeholders including DEQ, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, US Fish and Wildlife, US Corps of Engineers, Smith Mountain Lake Association, Citizens for the Preservation of the River, Counties of Bedford, Franklin, Campbell and Pittsylvania and Dominion Virginia Power.

The Water Management Plan can be found on-line at www.smithmtn.com under the resources heading.

Appalachian Power has 1 million customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee (as AEP Appalachian Power). It is a unit of American Electric Power, one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, which delivers electricity to more than 5 million customers in 11 states. AEP ranks among the nation's largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 38,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP also owns the nation's largest electricity transmission system, a nearly 39,000-mile network that includes more 765 kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined.

 

Appalachian Power Implements Water Release Variance from Smith Mountain Project

ROANOKE, Va., December 21, 2012 – Minimal rainfall in recent months and a dry forecast has led Appalachian Power to request permission from Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to reduce outflows from its Smith Mountain Hydroelectric Project.  Yesterday afternoon, the DEQ approved Appalachian’s request. 


The Project involves two reservoirs, Smith Mountain Lake and Leesville Lake.  The adjusted water elevation fell below 791.0 feet in November.  Normal full-pond is 795.

“While the current conditions are not entirely out of line with what we’ve seen in prior years, the lack of precipitation on the horizon justifies reducing outflows,” said Teresa Rogers, Appalachian Power hydro supervisor. “We’re hopeful that the reduced flows will meet needs both upstream and downstream of the project while protecting environmental and biological resources.”

Appalachian Power operates the Smith Mountain Project under a license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The license includes a water release protocol that has already resulted in reduced outflows from the Project since November. Prior to the variance the water release requirements were a minimum of 375 cubic feet per second (cfs) from Leesville dam and meeting a target minimum flow of 560 cfs at Brookneal.  The variance approved yesterday and implemented at midnight on December 21st reduces the minimum discharge from Leesville dam to 335 cfs and temporarily suspends the requirement to meet a required target flow at Brookneal, with continued monitoring of downstream flow conditions during the variance period.   

Appalachian developed the recommended variance releases in consultation with various stakeholders including DEQ, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, US Fish and Wildlife, US Corps of Engineers, Smith Mountain Lake Association, Citizens for the Preservation of the River, Counties of Bedford, Franklin, Campbell and Pittsylvania and Dominion Power.

Appalachian Power has 1 million customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee (as AEP Appalachian Power). It is a unit of American Electric Power, one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, which delivers electricity to more than 5 million customers in 11 states. AEP ranks among the nation’s largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 38,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP also owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system, a nearly 39,000-mile network that includes more 765 kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined.

Smith Mountain Fish Habitat Project

A barge loaded with different types of fish habitat prepares to drop the structures at different places in Smith Mountain Lake. The structures will be evaluated in the spring to determine which work best at attracting fish.

It might seem odd, but fish just love trees. They also love cinderblocks, pipe and a host of other weird looking things, when they're put underwater, of course. They hide in it, and they hunt for food in it. An effort by Appalachian Power in late summer 2012 will help fishermen and property owners at Smith Mountain Lake learn just what type of stuff fish love best.

Weird looking structures look like home to fish.

As part of the company's federal license to operate the Smith Mountain Pumped Storage Facility, the company undertakes initiatives that improve the recreational and environmental qualities of the lake. Part of that process includes installing fish habitat, and the company will be doing plenty of that around piers and boat ramps throughout the rest of this year. But, Appalachian's role in putting in habitat can be complemented if property owners do the same, and do it correctly.

With participation from a Habitat Review Technical Review Committee that includes local and state agencies, as well as the BASS association, 12 different types of habitat were identified for the study. The types of habitat range from natural brush, to pyramid-shaped objects, recycled wooden pallets, and even some structures that are sold in sporting goods stores. Next spring, divers from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries will evaluate the structures and be able to recommend what type performs best.

 

Smith Mountain, Leesville Residents Reminded Of Call-In Reporting Number For Floating Debris

Rocky Mount, Va., Sept. 9, 2011 - Recent heavy rains in Southwestern Virginia have washed natural and man-made debris into the two reservoirs of the Smith Mountain Hydroelectric Project and Appalachian Power is reminding area property owners of its centralized process for reporting areas of debris.

Residents of Smith Mountain and Leesville Lakes can call 1-800-956-4237 to report floating and dangerous debris in navigable channels. Callers should be ready to give a description and location of the debris.

The number is the company's Customer Solutions Center (CSC) used by Appalachian Power's electricity customers. The Appalachian Power CSC is available to callers 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

An Appalachian representative will take pertinent information from callers and forward it to the company's Hydro Generation Department where it will be tracked and handled in accordance with new operating license requirements and relevant management plans.

The two lakes encompass more than 24,000 surface acres of water and about 600 miles of shoreline with many small coves. The phone-in process allows the company to more easily track where debris has accumulated.

Not all debris will be removed by Appalachian. The priority is debris in the main channel that presents a boating hazard. Debris along the shoreline and in the back of coves outside of the main channel will be removed if it appears it could become a hazard to boating.

Debris that is considered wildlife habitat will not be removed. There will be times when debris blocks private docks where it is the responsibility of the owner to have it removed.

Boaters and others using lakes for recreational activities should be aware of floating debris, particularly after heavy local rains or upstream flooding, and use safe boating practices and appropriate speed when on the water.

The new call-in process for the Smith Mountain Project went into effect in 2010.

For other lake-related issues, such as permit applications for in-water construction, shoreline vegetation work or questions regarding the Shoreline Management Plan, residents or businesses should continue to contact the Appalachian Hydro office in Rocky Mount at 540-489-2556.

 

Visitors Center Above Smith Mountain Dam Open For Visitors

Sandy Level, Va., Sept. 8, 2011 – Appalachian Power has reopened its Visitors Center and observation area at the Smith Mountain Hydroelectric Project.

The company recently completed work on the exhibit area at the site located on the Bedford County side of the Smith Mountain gap.

Appalachian Power has updated exhibits which tell the history of the project and show how power is generated at the unique two-lake complex.

The center is open Tuesday through Saturday each week, from 9:00 a.m. until 5 p.m. Exhibits and the overlook area close at 4:30 p.m. The center is open on Sundays between 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. through Labor Day

There is no admission charge. Visitors can follow signs from Route 40 to "Smith Mountain Dam."

The picnic area located below the Smith Mountain Dam on Leesville Lake is open to the public every day of the week.

 

Smith Mountain lake boaters adviced of missing navigation marker

Rocky Mount, Va., May 27, 2011 – For the second time in less than a week a boater has destroyed a navigation marker in an active area of Smith Mountain Lake.

Boaters should be aware that the R-16 marker will be missing during the Memorial Day holiday weekend. The marker was located near Smith Mountain Lake State Park in what is known as the S-Curve, a high traffic area on the reservoir.

Since the boater left the scene, Appalachian Power has no additional information on the accidental or intentional damage to the marker. However, the company's call center was contacted by others who noticed the missing sign. The incident probably occurred last night.

Appalachian Power workers today removed the debris as well as the broken piling below the water surface. Contractors will not be able to replace the structure and marker until Tuesday.

On Saturday night, another boater destroyed a second navigation marker that was replaced Thursday.

Persons who see damage to navigation markers on the reservoir should call and report it to Appalachian Power at 800-956-4237.

 

Smith Mountain Lakeside residents reminded of call-in reporting number for floating debris

Rocky Mount, Va., March 15, 2011 – Recent heavy rains in Southwestern Virginia have washed natural and man-made debris into the two reservoirs of the Smith Mountain Hydroelectric Project and Appalachian Power is reminding area property owners of a relatively new centralized process for reporting areas of debris.

Residents of Smith Mountain and Leesville Lakes can call 1-800-956-4237 to report floating and dangerous debris in navigable channels. Callers should be ready to give a description and location of the debris.

The Appalachian Power CSC is available to callers 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The number is the company's Customer Solutions Center (CSC) used by Appalachian Power's electricity customers.

An Appalachian CSC representative will take pertinent information from callers and forward it to the company's Hydro Generation Department where it will be tracked and handled in accordance with new operating license requirements and relevant management plans.

"The two lakes encompass more than 24,000 surface acres of water and about 600 miles of shoreline with many small coves," said Teresa Rogers, Appalachian process supervisor. "This phone-in process allows us to more easily track where debris has accumulated."

Not all debris will be removed by Appalachian. "Our priority is debris in the main channel that presents a boating hazard. Debris along the shoreline and in the back of coves outside of the main channel will be removed if it appears it could become a hazard to boating," Rogers said.

Debris that is considered wildlife habitat will not be removed. There will be times when debris blocks private docks where it is the responsibility of the owner to have it removed.

Boaters and others using lakes for recreational activities should be aware of floating debris, particularly after heavy local rains or upstream flooding and use safe boating practices and appropriate speed when on the water.

The new call-in process for the Smith Mountain Project went into effect in 2010.

For other lake-related issues, such as permit applications for in-water construction, shoreline vegetation work or questions regarding the Shoreline Management Plan, residents or businesses should continue to contact the Appalachian Hydro office in Rocky Mount at 540-489-2556.