Jordan Lake

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For other places with the same name, see Jordan Lake (disambiguation).
B. Everett Jordan Lake
Jordan Lake.jpg
Location Chatham / Durham counties, North Carolina, United States
Coordinates 35°45′0″N 79°1′30″W / 35.75000°N 79.02500°W / 35.75000; -79.02500Coordinates: 35°45′0″N 79°1′30″W / 35.75000°N 79.02500°W / 35.75000; -79.02500
Lake type Reservoir
Primary inflows Haw River, New Hope Creek, Morgan Creek, and Little Creek
Primary outflows Haw River
Basin countries United States
Managing agency United States Army Corps of Engineers
Max. length 16 miles (26 km)[1]
Max. width 5 miles (8.0 km)[1]
Surface area 13,940 acres (56.4 km2)
31,800 acres (129 km2) flood control pool[1]
Average depth 14 feet (4.3 m)[1]
Max. depth 38 feet (12 m)[1]
Water volume 45,800 acre feet (56.5 hm3)
Shore length1 180 mi (290 km)[1]
Surface elevation 216 ft (66 m) [1]
Frozen never
1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.

B. Everett Jordan Lake is a reservoir in New Hope Valley, west of Raleigh and south of Durham in Chatham County, North Carolina, in the United States. The northernmost end of the lake actually reaches into southwestern Durham County.

The reservoir was developed at an original cost of US $146,300,000 and is owned and operated by the United States Army Corps of Engineers, which dammed and flooded the Haw River and New Hope River between 1973 and 1983 as part of a flood control project prompted by a particularly damaging tropical storm that hit the region downstream in September 1945. Originally authorized in 1963 as the New Hope Lake Project, the reservoir was renamed in 1974 in memory of B. Everett Jordan, former North Carolina Senator. The reservoir covers 13,940 acres (5,640 ha) with a shoreline of 180 miles (290 km) at its standard water level of 216 feet (66 m) above sea level. The reservoir is part of the Jordan Lake State Recreation Area.[1]

The northern end of Jordan Lake, near the Morgan Creek inlet.

During the construction of the reservoir, much of the area was permanently changed. Many farming families were relocated as the project was developed and several roads in eastern Chatham County were either rerouted or taken out of commission completely. Some of the roads were never demolished, but simply allowed to flood over. When the lake is at low water volume, many of these roads can still be seen and some have even been utilized for makeshift boat ramps.[citation needed]

Jordan Lake offers a variety of facilities for recreation, conservation, and flood control.


Completed in 1974 by the Nello L. Teer Company, the Jordan Lake Dam (also known as the B. Everett Jordan Project and the New Hope Dam) is located at 35°39′15″N 79°4′0″W / 35.65417°N 79.06667°W / 35.65417; -79.06667 (B. Everett Jordan Dam) 4 miles (6 km) upstream from the mouth of the Haw River in the upper Cape Fear River drainage basin. The dam is 1,330 feet (405 m) in length and has a top elevation of 266.5 feet (81 m) above mean sea level.[1]


In 2008, Thomas Colson, a private citizen, engaged the community surrounding Jordan Lake in awareness of a massive litter problem in the lake. Early estimates put the number of discarded tires in the lake in the thousands, with approximately 40 acre feet (49,000 m3) of trash choking the sensitive aquatic habitats along the shoreline, much of which is the nesting habitat for many Bald Eagles that inhabit the lake property. Following extensive media coverage[2] of the litter issue, Colson organized a volunteer cleanup in late 2008[3] and followed up with the formation of Clean Jordan Lake,[4] a North Carolina non-profit corporation with the assistance of Fran DiGiano, a retired professor of the Dept. of Environmental Sciences & Engineering at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Early in 2010 Clean Jordan Lake hosted its first cleanup with the assistance of the United States Army Corps of Engineers, hauling out an unprecedented volume of litter and tires in a few short hours.[5][6] The event was attended by many dignitaries from both the Corps and North Carolina State Government.

The problem of litter and storm water debris within the lake remains today and poses a serious threat to the drinking water supply of area communities. In addition to semi-annual cleanups by the general public, many different organizations have conducted cleanups since the first on September 14, 2010,when over 150 GlaxoSmithKline employees volunteered their time as part of their world-wide Orange Day of community service to fill four large dumpsters with trash removed from the shoreline. Including the start of an Adopt-A-Shoreline Program, 2,000 volunteers have participated in 47 cleanup events in which 7,000 bags of trash (about 70 tons) and 2,700 tires have been removed from 15 miles of shoreline. Many organizations including GlaxoSmithKline, Biogen Idec and Change the Triangle volunteer annually, turning out hundreds of workers.

The amount of litter surrounding the Jordan Lake Shoreline remains a threat to the riparian buffer which helps maintain water quality, a problem recognized by the numerous agencies tasked with the management of the lake and its surrounding land.


Alcohol is strictly prohibited in the Jordan Lake State Park.[1] Boats beached or anchored at a state park become part of the park. Alcohol is also prohibited in boats at the NC State Park boat ramps. Alcohol is allowed on the water and to be transported through NC Wildlife Boat Ramps.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j US Army Corps of Engineers. "B Everett Jordan Dam and Lake". Brochure. 
  2. ^ News & Observer: Debris clogs Jordan Lake's coves
  3. ^ NBC 17: Volunteers Sought For Trash Removal In Jordan Lake
  4. ^ Independent Weekly: Jordan Lake: Turtles, herons and Styrofoam
  5. ^ News & Observer: Littered lake gets a cleanup
  6. ^ NBC 17: Volunteers Wanted To Clean Up Jordan Lake

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