DAVIDSON COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) – High Rock Lake is the second largest lake in North Carolina, and many families have decided it’s a great place to live, but some people in one part of the lake are facing a situation where their water front property is drying up.
The area of the upper part of High Rock near Swearing Creek is slowly getting extremely shallow due to sand and silt buildup.
And if nothing is done, thousands of homes could be isolated from the main part of the lake.
“It’s very disheartening to the neighbors who are being cut off from the lake because that’s why we live here,” said Jamie Hallman, whose family has owned a house at the mouth of Swearing Creek since 1998.
Their property has a great view of the water, but with one big problem: a lot of it is very shallow.
“A lot of people…think that the logs are floating, and they’re not floating. They are sitting on the sandbar,” Hallman said. “ So they think they can just go right on through…instead, they get stuck.”
The sandbar has been building up for more than 20 years as sediment from the Yadkin River flows into the lake.
Nicole Cooper lives a few doors up from Hallman on a piece of property facing the main river channel. When she moved in 6 years ago, she could park her boat on her dock in front of her house. Not any more.
“We have literally just inches of water…beyond that is several feet of water,” Cooper said while pointing out across a grassy section of the lake that has formed in front of her property. “But we used to have full access straight on out where our boat and everything could be here.”
Recently, North Carolina wildlife officials installed channel markers along the last strip of deep water to guide boats safely into and out of Swearing Creek. If that channel fills in with sand, there will be thousands of homes that are cut off from the main lake.
The solution is to dredge the lake, creating deep channels once again.
“We’ve got the data that shows…what needs to be done. There’s plenty of other places around North Carolina as well as the US as well as the world that has shown that dredging…helps the environment,” Cooper said.
But it’s expensive. A 2001 study done by Davidson County showed that it would cost $100 million to dredge the lake.
Cube Hydro, the company that operates the lake, told the High Rock Lake Association homeowners it would not stand in the way of dredging but would also not pay for it.
The High Rock Lake Association is researching ways to pay for the dredging, including looking for state and federal funding.