Jordan Lake

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
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]


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]

Water Supply[edit]

Jordan Lake serves as a major water supply for about 250,000 (1990) people in North Carolina. Allocations made in 2002 total 63 mgd. Governmental units allocated water from Jordan Lake are Towns of Cary and Apex (32 mgd), Chatham County (6 mgd), City of Durham (10 mgd), Town of Holly Springs (2 mgd), Town of Morrisville (3.5 mgd), Orange County (1 mgd), Orange Water & Sewer Authority (5 mgd), and Wake County - RTP South (3.5 mgd). As of 2014 the NCDENR Division of Water Resources is conducting a round of applications for water allocation.[2][3][4]

Water Quality[edit]

Jordan Lake was declared as nutrient-sensitive waters (NSW) by the North Carolina Environmental Management Commission from 1983, the year it was impounded. The lake is eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic owing to excessive nutrient levels.[5]

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

Requirements of the federal Clean Water Act were triggered when the lake became impaired, including the need to set load reduction limits for point and nonpoint sources and enforce discharge limits.[6]

The Jordan Lake Rules are designed to improve water quality in the lake. The rules were developed with extensive meetings, public hearings and negotiations between residents, environmental groups, local and state government agencies and other stakeholders. The rules mandate reducing pollution from wastewater discharges, stormwater runoff from new and existing development, agriculture and fertilizer application.[7][8]

From July 2011 several NC laws have been passed delaying and weakening the rules, culminating in a plan to deploy floating arrays of in-lake, long-distance circulators–similar to wastewater treatment circulators–intended to reduce harmful algae and excessive chlorophyll.[9][10]


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[11] of the litter issue, Colson organized a volunteer cleanup in late 2008.[12]

In 2009, staff of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers headquarters at Jordan Lake brought together Colson and Francis DiGiano, a retired professor of the Dept. of Environmental Sciences & Engineering at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a way to promote a friends of the lake group. The result was formation of Clean Jordan Lake,[13][14] a North Carolina non-profit corporation.

Early in 2010 Clean Jordan Lake hosted its first cleanup with the assistance of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, hauling out an unprecedented volume of litter and tires in a few short hours.[15][16] The event was attended by many dignitaries from both the Corps and North Carolina State Government. Since then, Clean Jordan Lake has organized over 60 community service cleanups and has formed an Adopt-A-Shoreline Program that comprises 14 groups that clean habitually littered areas three times per year. As of late 2014, 3,400 volunteers have removed 9,500 bags of trash (enough to fill 30 large dumpsters) and nearly 3,600 tires. The American Canoe Association Stewardship Newsletter provides a detailed summary.

Clean Jordan Lake hosts semi-annual cleanups in conjunction with NC Big Sweep and the Haw River Assembly. In addition, community service days by organizations throughout the year bring hundreds more volunteers. Examples are: GlaxoSmithKline; Biogen Idec; Duke Energy; Pfizer Biotech; Change the Triangle Young Adults; the YMCA; high school science classes; university service fraternities and clubs; and church youth groups.

Rainfall continues to flush away trash from the landscape of 1,700 square miles of watershed where 600,000 citizens live. Careless recreational users add to the load. The consequences are damage to wildlife habitats, injury to birds and mammals, depreciation of the recreation experience and quite possibly, degradation of water quality in a lake that is the drinking water supply for 300,000 citizens.


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. ^ Clean Jordan Lake
  3. ^ NCDENR DWR Permits & Registration  » Jordan Lake Water Supply Allocation
  4. ^ NCDENR DWR Current Allocations
  5. ^ NCDENR DWR Background
  6. ^ Brief History of Jordan Nutrient Strategy
  7. ^ NCDENR DWR Jordan Lake Rules
  8. ^ Jordan Lake Rules fact sheet
  9. ^ NCDENR - Read the Rules
  10. ^ Using Circulators to Control Wastewater Pond Odors
  11. ^ News & Observer: Debris clogs Jordan Lake's coves
  12. ^ NBC 17: Volunteers Sought For Trash Removal In Jordan Lake
  13. ^
  14. ^ Independent Weekly: Jordan Lake: Turtles, herons and Styrofoam
  15. ^ News & Observer: Littered lake gets a cleanup
  16. ^ NBC 17: Volunteers Wanted To Clean Up Jordan Lake

External links[edit]