Navigational Aids to Claytor Lake


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On September 12, 2012 the Navigational Aids Committee met with Appalachian Electric Power (AEP) to review the Aids to Navigation Management Plan that has been submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as part of AEP’s application for new license of the Claytor Hydro Project.  The purpose of this plan is to provide mariners on Claytor Lake a marking system to identify features, hazards, and channels of Claytor Lake.

The plan will add 68 navigational buoys to Claytor Lake in addition to the existing 39 No Wake, No Boat, Swimming Area, Danger Rock buoys, and 3 Mooring Buoys.  Although Claytor Lake is considered navigable waters of the United States and falls under the jurisdiction of the US Coast Guard, the USCG has delegated its authority with regards to this plan to Virginia’s Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF). Appalachian will seek approval for the aids to navigation from Pulaski County Board of Supervisors and VDGIF.

If approved, Appalachian will install a small “test” area of markers in the Little Wytheville area of the lake as soon as this winter to gauge effectiveness, weather disruptions, water flow stability, and public reaction. All markers will contain small strobe lighting to aid night time navigation.  Once an evaluation is done in early spring of 2013 of the test site, AEP will begin to install the remaining buoys.

FOCL would like to hear your thoughts on this plan.

The original plan can be viewed here.

(Please make sure you vote for each section.  4 votes total)

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I feel strongly that hazards should be marked on the lake but that marking areas that are not hazardous is overkill and interferes with the natural beauty of Claytor. Have any accident stats been looked at to determine cause and to warrent this??

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I agree that the markers should be used above the bridge where the navigation is inhibited by silt and leaves only the flow of the river to be usable. As far as markers on the main body of the lake I think it just makes more things to have to avoid in ones boating experience. That’s why people use maps when they don’t know where they are going or not familair with the area, being in a car or a boat!

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This sounds like we will have 107 more obstacles to navigate around. In one word this is “OVERKILL”. Does anybody have any stat’s on boating accidents that could have been diverted if navigation aids were there? You rarely hear of any boating crashes do to the natural design of the lake. Its always human era or a distracted driver.

If the river area above the bridge is so dangerous because of shoals then why are we not talking dredging? Adding markers is going to be a ongoing process do to the sediment changes all the time. Markers could help in the short term but other options need to be thought out for long term use of the waterways above the bridge. Soon our 21 mile long lake will be reduced to half. Not happy with this current plan for our lake.

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I wonder if the people voting for navigation aids below Lowmans Ferry Bridge and in Peak Creek and Dublin Hollow are reading the questions well? I feel markers in these locations are a waste of money and take away from beauty. Also, unneeded buoys can be a safety issue. Can you imagine navigating Peak Creek if the course is even narrower?

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Claytor Lake has operated fine all these years// why fix something that is working,,,AEP needs to pay attention to electrical service and leave the lake and boat docks alone..

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I think only hazards should be marked.

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There is no reason to have buoys below the Lowman’s Ferry Bridge. We have a lake with beautiful views, why would we want to add blinking buoys where they are not needed.

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The area above the bridge can be pretty tricky and many boaters would benefit from more guidance. However, I have a boat that wouldn’t do well in shallow water and traverse ALL of the lake below the bridge and have never felt any need whatsoever for add’l guidance anywhere else, even when I was new to the lake. Claytor Lake is not Lake Norman or Smith Mtn. Lake, and that is a good thing. Let’s not clutter up the lake with unnecessary ‘aids’.

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We should light up Lowman’s Ferry Bridge at night with some sort of lighting as well. For navigation as well as looks.

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Nav aids will be most important at night in Peak Creek and Dublin Hollow, in addition to above the bridge.

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I believe there should be a red bouy on the point across the lake from the mouth of Clapboard Hollow.

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It is good to have an “opinion page”, but where was the “public input” in the Planning Stage of this Navigation Plan? It seems that there was little if any. 

Having said that, this Nav Plan seems like HUGE overkill for Claytor Lake. There are hazards that should be marked, but those ar mostly above Lowman’s Ferry Bridge. The lower Lake does not need “Navigational” markers. Claytor is too small to “require” this plan.

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Have there been serious accidents to bring about these strobing buoys? If safety is the issue, isn’t better just to ban night time boating? Buoys are a eye sore that disrupt the beautiful landscape that draws people here. It is better to leave the lake in pristine, natural condition without obstructive “road signs.”

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We need Shoal Markers only. No wake markers before in many places before someome is killed.
This lake is too small for navigational aids.

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I don’t see how Claytor Lake is big enough to facilitate the need for aids to navigation. Yes there are a few locations where there are underwater hazards and those locations are currently marked (other than upstream of the Lighthouse Bridge). Why not spend the money to put No Wake Buoys at the entrance to coves so that people can have a place to go without being “waked out” by other boats. Furthermore, why not better educate boaters and better enforce the law as stated in the Virginia Watercraft Owners Guide: “3.It shall be unlawful to operate any motorboat greater that no wake speed when within 50 feet or less of docks, piers, boathouses, boat ramps, and people in the water…”

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I HAVE BEEN ON CLAYTOR FOR OVER 60 YEARS. A BEAUTIFUL LAKE AND A GREAT PLACE FOR FAMILY FUN AND RECREATION, A TRUE” GEM” OF THE SOUTHEAST..

. .THE SAFTEY AND WELL BEING OF HUMAN LIFE SHOULD BE THE FIRST AND FORMOST ISSUE ON THE LAKE. I ACKNOWLEDGE THAT NAVIGATION AIDS WOULD ADDRESS THIS TO SOME DEGREE BUT I STRONGLY DISAGREE WITH AEP PROPOSED PLAN. IT SEEMS TO ME THAT THE COUNTY AND AEP ARE TRYING TO EXERT TOO MUCH CONTROL OVER THE CITIZENS AND LAND OWNERS USE OF PUBLIC WATERS AND PROPERTY. THE LAKE IS A VALUABLE TAX ASSET FOR THE COUNTY AND A CASH COW FOR AEP. THERE SHOULD BE A PLAN WHERE EVERYONE COULD LIVE AND LET LIVE.. LOOSEN UP AEP.

I TRUST THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS WILL OPPOSE THIS PLAN

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I have no objection to nav markers on Peak Creek and on the main channel.  It seems to be an expense that would be more effective being on the “list” but down about 7th or 8th.  The sand bars (shoals) that are invisible above the bridge (and anywhere else for that matter) could use markers on both ends and maybe at the widest point on each side.  However it comes out, I want you to know that we are quite proud of FOCL.  You all do a wonderful job and everyone on the lake is better for your work.

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thanks for asking opinions , the lake is beautiful ,the shallow water bouys are nice ,but too much could possibly darken some beautiful views from some house and land owners , maybe some speed restrictions in peak creek ,dublin hollow , and clapboard , as well asall coves would be appriciated

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Why isn’t anybody talking about dredging to help make the upper lake a safer area to navigate. Dredging sounds like a better solution for boaters and land owners. I hope we do not light the lake up like a airport. This would kill the natural beauty of our lake.

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I am totally opposed to the overkill that is proposed by the Army Corps to place navigation aids on Claytor Lake. I was raised on Claytor Lake and have experienced other lakes while boating in the State of Virginia. There are definitely lakes in the state which benefit from navigation aids. However, the configuration of Claytor, and the relative smallness of it ,does not justify the expense for what is proposed . I just can absolutely see no benefit of navigation aids being placed in Peake Creek or in Dublin Hollow. If one cannot navigate those areas without navigation aids, then they should not be driving a boat.

I would say that above the Lowman’s Ferry Bridge can be quite treacherous due to this area being in the headwaters of the lake ( silt deposits) . Navigation aids would be helpful for navigating in the channel in the upper reaches of the lake. The channel, however , will probably deviate seasonally , necessitating frequent relocation of the buoys. 

The plan , as proposed is total and complete overkill and should be scaled back dramatically !!!

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Less is usually more. If there are too many, people will begin to ignore them. If they are judiciously placed for actual safety, they will be more effective.

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A previous post has some good points such as who will be funding this project, and what is going to be the total cost, including years of upkeep? However, I must point out that there are some really bad places in Claytor Lake that need to be marked. I’ve seen many a prop ruined where some people not familiar with the lake, have gotten into trouble, but looking at the map on the web site, it looks like a bit of over-kill to me. It seems the area around Little Wytheville gets worse each year with the sediment building up more and more, so do we need Navigation Aids or Dredging? I don’t know the answer to that, but there are a lot of things to think about, especially when it starts coming out of my pocket that Pulaski County already has both of their hands in. Just my opinion. Thanks!

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major Hazards above the bridge should be marked but the rest of the lake should be left alone and untouched to its natural beauty

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I do not agree with puting buoys all over the lake a boater should have a GPS

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Looks like over kill. I dont wish to see our lake lit up like a airport. I hope a common sense approach will be used. No strobe lights please.

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I am not on the water as much as I once was…..the bottom is changing…..I need these navigational aids.

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Marking hazards seems to make sense. The rest of this plan is just “fluff” & will negatively impact the “natural beauty” that AEP & others claim to want to protect. As far as the safety factor is concerned, the number & locations of the markers will create hazards rather than “promote” safety. The fewer markers the better!!!

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Waste of time and money.

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Certain navigational in the areas above the bridge make sense. Hazard buoys where neede make sense. Putting them elsewhere on the lake lacks common sense and are not needed.

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I can’t imagine how ugly buoys would be in front of my home. I live in the lower part of the lake. So I have a bit of reservation voting for something that would clearly make the view uglier for those living in the upper part of the lake (Little wytheville and allisonia). So I can not vote for any option.

There will always be someone get in trouble. Why spend the time and money putting out buoys, maintaining buoys, and replacing buoys.

Just educate the boater. If he or she choses not to pay attention, then it is no one’s fault but theirs.

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This is an idea that should have been implemented years ago.

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Navigational aids are a must . For safety purposes. These aids may save a life,help avoid serious injury, and keep from damaging boats. There are some very dangerous areas on the lake and it is critical for the safety of the community so everyone can enjoy the lake.

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boats run aground at the rate of two per weekend above the lighthouse bridge-someone will be injured or killed at some point—we know of the frequency as we have to pull them off of the mud bar, as they cannot get out on their own—we need the buoys in that area to make boating safe

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Only navigational hazards should be marked.

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I think that navigational aides on Claytor lake as proposed above will totally change the pristine natural environment that we now enjoy. As shown, the proposal above is cluttered at best. Over kill comes to mind. I think that only hazard areas need to be marked as such. Littering the lake with markers and at night lights is a waste of time and money and will decrease the appeal of Claytor. In the daytime, markers create an additional hazard for boats, skiers, and wakeboarders and at night they destroy the tranquility of the evening. Where lighted aides are installed on the coast and other larger areas, they are far away from residences. With Claytor being long and narrow this is impossible. Blinking beacons in front of residences would be like living across from the emergency room with police and ambulances coming in all night long.

Have accident studies been conducted that show any need for these markers? Or was this just some idea proposed without thought as to consequences? Too many times we” improve” things that don’t need fixing. Claytor is a riverine lake, long and narrow. There is little chance of getting lost on Claytor makeing markers unnecessary. In addition makring a large cove and Peak Creek further narrows the areas available for traffic makeing them more not less dangerous.

For those unfamiliar with the lake, there are maps available and GPS information. One could argue that they might not be used and if that’s the case, then the individual is probably not going to know or find out about what markers mean either so again they are of no use.

Very shallow areas and shoals need to be marked for safety, but what is proposed above is sensless overkill, an unnecessary waste of money, an imposition to those who live on the lake and most who use it. I am opposed to marking anything that is not a navigational hazard ie shallow areas.

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I DO NOT WANT strobe lights on bouys in front of my house. It will ruin the enjoyment and remote nature of the location. As stated in literature I have seen, the filling in of a man made lake is natural and the “river” is returning to its “River” nature. We don’t mark rivers. They change, and the nature and location of the shallows is easy to predict.
IMPORTANTLY- the Bass boats that run 60 MPH in the dead of night don’t need the bouys because they have their routes tracked on their GPS guidance systems.
PLEASE DO NOT put bouys in the Little Wytheville area.

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Certainly aids are needed above (toward Hiwassee) the bridge.