© 2023 Blue Ridge Public Radio
Main Banner Background
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Closure Of Duke Energy Plant Will Lead To Fish Kill In Lake Julian


The shutdown of Duke Energy's coal-fired plant on Lake Julian at the end of this month is expected to lead to the death of 15-20% of the fish in adjoining Lake Julian according to Buncombe County.

The fish kill will be due to the end of warm water being released into the lake by the plant, something that will change Lake Julian's ecology.  According to Buncombe County, that will make lake temperatures colder, making Lake Julian more like a natural habitat for North Carolina.  Native fish like bass, catfish, brim, and crappie should thrive in such conditions according to the county.  Non-native fish, like tilapia, will not be able to adapt to the colder temperatures.  County officials believe that will lead to the death of 15 to 20% of the fish in the lake starting at the end of February.  According to a county press release, Duke Energy will coordinate with natural resource agencies to monitor and respond to the situation, including removing dead fish from the lake if needed.

Buncombe County officials say there are no plans to add new fish to Lake Julian, a man made lake created in the 1960's.  Fishing access at the lake isn't expected to change.  In 2015, the North Carolina General Assembly passed a measure that ordered Duke's coal-fired plant to be retired by January 31st, 2020, and be replaced by a natural gas-fired facility.  

Matt Bush joined Blue Ridge Public Radio as news director in August 2016. Excited at the opportunity the build up the news service for both stations as well as help launch BPR News, Matt made the jump to Western North Carolina from Washington D.C. For the 8 years prior to coming to Asheville, he worked at the NPR member station in the nation's capital as a reporter and anchor. Matt primarily covered the state of Maryland, including 6 years of covering the statehouse in Annapolis. Prior to that, he worked at WMAL in Washington and Metro Networks in Pittsburgh, the city he was born and raised in.
Related Content