One of the early supporters of Kerr Lake Park Watch, Larry Matthews, is an avid camper, boater, skier and a part-time resident of Kerr Lake.  While his comments raise some interesting perspectives, his photos tell a very sad story.  Here’s a look at both.

“Because of a health issue, I have not been to the lake since the first week of October. Since I check the lake levels daily, I knew how low the lake was. I was finally able to go to the lake today and check out our dock and the water level. WOW, I had forgotten just how dramatic it is when you are actually at the lake.

Needless to say, our dock is pretty much high and dry, as is all of our neighbors. So, I came home and did a little research. Unless I read the Corp of Engineer’s charts wrong, it looks like the last time Kerr got down to 292′ was October of 2002. One would have thought that we would have gotten this low during our droughts of the last few years.

After reading Michael Womack’s comments, I also did a little research on the water level of Smith Mt Lake. Looks like they are down over 3′. WOW 3′, “bless their hearts”. I only wish we were down 3′. (To be fair, we would need to see what Kerr’s normal lake level is for Oct/Nov.) Check out the article,

The good news is that I saw a lot of hydrilla high and dry and dying out, as much as hydrilla will die out temporarily. Another effect on the lake that might be interesting to research is how water consumption for municipalities has increased over the last 15-20 years.

Blogs are about sharing thoughts and information. So, I’ve shared some of my thoughts. Just as the hydrilla issue, the water fluctuation level is a tough one to solve and, frankly, will not be solved. A positive effect of the fluctuating water level is that it may have slowed development of Kerr. And as a result, we can still find calm still quiet water on Kerr Lake unlike all of the other lakes in our area. I love being a “pirate of the kerr-ibean”.”

KLPW and many lake and park users understand that no one can do anything about drought until it rains.  Mr. Matthews raises a good point though as to why Kerr Lake percentage of loss is so much higher than other lakes in the system, especially, Smith Mountain Lake.

From those with the responsibility of watching over Kerr Lake, users and organizations like KLPW need concise and simple explanations and those users and stakeholders need to know that everyone in the process is doing the best job possible to keep all of the aspects and usages of Kerr Lake.  That responsibility rests squarely on the US Army Corps of Engineers.

We will continue to hope for more basin rainfall and we will continue our watch at Kerr Lake Park Watch.

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  1. Dennis Harris December 3, 2012

    The only postive here is that the low water will temportary kill the hydrilla.

    I do not think that Smith Mountain Lake is a Corps lake. I think its like Lake Gaston and is owned by Va Power. Like Gaston, Smith Mountain Lake is very developed with many important and rich individuals own homes on the lake and VA Power does not want to upset their owners and investors.

    Several weeks ago I was up near the headwaters of the Banister River. This is one of the five rivers that feed Kerr Lake. We were there visting the old Betterton Grist mill on the river. This mill was operated by my wife’s family for over a 100 years and is located on the river and is still in good condition. Anyway, it appeared that there was a normal flow of water in the river at that time. Not that familiar with the river at this location,but it certainly appeared near normal.

    In 2002 the water got as low as 291. Thats the lowest that I have ever seen. Older people have told me that they had seen it as low as 285. It may have been drawn down then to install boat ramps.

  2. Wes Bullock December 7, 2012

    Great article-I’d enjoy seeing more photos of the low water levels, especially along Nutbush south of Henderson Point. My family usually puts in at Hibernia, but I hadn’t been since the summer.

  3. BOB BURNETT December 13, 2012


  4. BOB BURNETT January 7, 2013

    recent trip to steele creek marina 01-06-2013 water level still so low unable to take my boat out safely marina store sign said closed due to unsafe water levels daily raleigh paper post lake levels why should kerr not improve or stabilize jordan and fall seem unaffected stop draining kerr for others profit we all need our recreational lake returned soon!!!!


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