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Rain Washes Out Sediment Removal Efforts at Lake Junaluska


Western North Carolina has experienced one of the wettest winters on record.  This has severely impacted the biennial removal of sediment from Lake Junaluska and routine maintenance of the Lake Junaluska dam.  Due to the excessive rain so far this year, the sediment removal schedule has been delayed and the need for an additional drawdown of Lake Junaluska in the winter of 2020 and 2021 will be required to complete necessary work.  

Since the creation of the lake in 1913, sediment from upstream has been a consistent issue and has required regular maintenance work in order to preserve the lake.  Since 1994, approximately 300,000 cubic yards of silt has been removed, totaling 37,500 truckloads, which is equivalent to filling a super Walmart store from floor to ceiling with sediment. 

“In 2020, we planned to remove 4,000 cubic yards of sediment and build a new access road for future sediment removal,” said Ken Howle, executive director at Lake Junaluska. “Unfortunately, less than 1,000 cubic yards have been removed to date and it is unlikely that we will be able to remove the remaining sediment before being required to refill the lake for spring spawning and waterfowl nesting.”  

Routine maintenance to the dam will also be postponed.  When the lake is down, structural inspections are conducted to the parts of the dam that are not usually visible when the lake is at full pool.  Maintenance is also conducted to the spillway, which includes sandblasting exposed rebar to remove rust that can cause deterioration.  Once the rust has been removed, the rebar is cleaned, a protectant is then applied to the exposed areas to prevent deterioration, ending with concrete being poured to re-cover the rebar.

Lake Junaluska will provide ongoing updates of plans for sediment removal next year.  “As a not-for-profit organization, we are greatly appreciative of the charitable gifts that make this work possible,” said Rebecca Mathis, director of development at Lake Junaluska. “Donations from individual donors and community partners are vital to preserving and maintaining the Lake Junaluska dam as well as the lake itself.  We invite all those who value and enjoy Lake Junaluska to join with donors and partners from across the region to support the Lake Junaluska Annual Fund.”

To make a charitable gift, please contact the Lake Junaluska Office of Development at (828) 454-6680,, or online at

Lake Junaluska is a conference and retreat center and residential community that surrounds a 200-acre mountain lake in Western North Carolina. Lake Junaluska’s mission is to be a place of Christian hospitality where lives are transformed through renewal of soul, mind and body. For more information, visit


Lake Junaluska Communications
Lake Junaluska