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This Duke Energy proposal could bring restrooms to 27 recreation areas on the Catawba River

A canoe and kayak launch was opened in May at the Catawba Indian Nation reservation on the Catawba River in Rock Hill, S.C.
A canoe and kayak launch was opened in May at the Catawba Indian Nation reservation on the Catawba River in Rock Hill, S.C. Illumination

If you’re planning to visit the Catawba-Wateree River in the future, you might notice some improvements – such as a place to use the bathroom.

That is, if a recreation management plan for the river, proposed by Charlotte-based Duke Energy, is approved. The company is awaiting a decision on a plan that would install restrooms, among other amenities, at 27 recreation areas spanning all lakes along the Catawba-Wateree River over the next 20 years.

The plan – part of Duke Energy’s Catawba-Wateree license with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission – includes 89 recreational enhancements, including restrooms, new picnic facilities, fishing piers, swim beaches, campgrounds and expanded parking at access areas, as well as additional boating access areas.

It covers nearly 1,800 miles of shoreline along 11 reservoirs in nine North Carolina counties, and five in South Carolina. Construction plans are divided into five-year phases for 20 years.

The Catawba-Wateree license includes provisions that protect water quality and the environment, as well as enhanced recreational options for the people who rely on the Catawba-Wateree River and its lakes for summer activities, such as swimming and fishing.

Duke Energy spokesperson Kim Crawford said that during the federal re-licensing process for the Catawba-Wateree Hydro Project, the company worked with stakeholders across all 17 counties along the river basin to identify opportunities for providing and improving access areas to the public.

The company is awaiting FERC’s response, expected later this year, before beginning any construction.

“We are hopeful FERC will approve the plan by November 2017,” Crawford said. “We are working hard to get designs and permits in place so we can begin construction once the plan is approved.

Matt Kaminer: 704-358-5258, @MattKaminer

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