Duke Energy built Mountain Island Lake in 1924 with one of a series of dams on the 225-mile long Catawba River. As the other lakes on the Catawba, Mountain Island was created by the electric utility for power production. Duke controls the water flow on the Catawba and its lakes and operates the dams under a license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
Duke Energy is responsible for issuing permits for docks and other shoreline construction, including erosion control on Mountain Island Lake. It works closely with the Marine Commission on issues relating to shoreline environment and water safety. Duke’s shoreline management guidelines can be found here: http://www.duke-energy.com/shoreline-management/catawba-wateree.asp
Lake Enforcement Officers from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department patrol the lake year-round, with more patrols in the busy summer boating season. Gaston County Police patrol the lake from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Officers in boats enforce no-wake zones, boating while impaired laws, proper use of life vests and proper safety equipment. Police also enforce litter and no-trespassing ordinances on the shoreline. The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department provides back-up to the other counties when needed.
N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission
This state agency has officers patrolling Mountain Island Lake to enforce the state’s boating and fishing regulations, which apply on all of the state’s waters. The Commission issues hunting and fishing permits in North Carolina and licenses motorized vessels on the state’s waters. It provides boating safety courses, often in partnership with other agencies and organizations including the Marine Commission.
Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation
This county department manages the Latta Plantation Nature Preserve, which includes more than 1,300 acres on a peninsula in Mountain Island Lake. It provides public access for canoeing and kayaking, hiking, fishing and picnicking on the lake. The preserve is the largest in Mecklenburg County. The department also manages the 668-acre Cowan’s Ford Wildlife Preserve and the 343-acre Stephens Road Natural Preserve on the lake and has acquired other shoreline property for preservation.
Mecklenburg County Land Use and Environmental Services
The Storm Water Services unit in this county department monitors the water quality in Mountain Island Lake and the creeks that flow into it. They respond to environmental issues and citizens’ requests for service. They investigate pollution concerns, identify and eliminate pollution sources, and enforce state and local water quality regulations. The unit uses water quality data to identify pollution sources and track overall water quality trends. Representatives report their findings to the Marine Commission at its monthly meetings.
The Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation is a non-profit organization that advocates for the health, protection and enjoyment of the Catawba River watershed, including Mountain Island Lake. Formed in 1997 as a 501(c)(3), the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation operates in the 24 counties of the Catawba River watershed in North and South Carolina. The organization has Covekeeper groups that monitor water quality and other environmental impacts on five of the Catawba lakes. Representatives of the Mountain Island Covekeepers provide reports to the Marine Commissions at its monthly meetings.
Formed in 1945, the North Carolina Wildlife Federation is a non-profit conservation organization dedicated to all N.C. wildlife and its habitat. NCWF has 30 affiliates and nine local chapters, including Mountain Island Lake Wildlife Stewards, which strives to protect and increase wildlife and wildlife habitat in the Mountain Island Lake area. Their projects include installing fish attractors and osprey nesting platforms on the lake. Wildlife Stewards representatives report on their activities at the Marine Commission’s monthly meetings. NCWF sponsors an annual “Canoe and Kayak a-thon” on Mountain Island.
The Catawba Lands Conservancy is a non-profit land trust that works with willing landowners to preserve land in North Carolina’s Southern Piedmont. It began in 1991 with an initiative to preserve land around Mountain Island Lake. Today, it has more than 11,000 acres of protected lands in North Carolina, including hundreds of acres around Mountain Island Lake. Its work contributes to the lake’s pristine natural environment and its excellent water quality.