In-Water Construction Ban Amended

In-Water Construction Ban Amended

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Some regulations affecting the building of docks and other in-water construction at Smith Mountain Lake were recently amended to allow some exceptions. Courtney Cutright, writer for the Roanoke Times online has written a good summary for those affected by this issue.

More than a week after a federal ban on dock building was set to begin, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved an amendment to allow in-water construction in all areas but those designated as impact minimization and conservation/environmental zones.

The amendment, dated Feb. 23, prohibits in-water construction in specified areas from Feb. 15 to June 15 to protect fish habitats.

“The parts [of the lake] that are actually in impact minimization zones, that’s such a small percentage,” said Jason Turner, vice president of Turner’s Building Inc. in Union Hall. “You may run into a problem once in a while.”

The original ban barred all in-water construction at the lake between those dates.

While dock building and rip rap work are occurring in most areas of the lake, dredging is not permitted lake-wide from Feb. 15 to June 15 — a measure Debbie Higgins of G. G. Shoreline Services said is damaging business.

Last April, after dock builders and the local government objected, a federal ban on dock building was lifted the day before it was scheduled to begin after dock builders and the local government.

“They [FERC] shut us down last year for four months,” said Higgins of Montvale. “That’s a third of our work year.”

G. G. Shoreline Services, which is owned by Higgins’ husband Bill Greene, does both dredge and riprap work.

Dredging is a process used to dig out silt that collects in the inlet, creating shallow water and rip rap is a technique that uses stone to stabilize the lake’s shore.

Higgins said the company’s phones are quiet because most customers are unaware the ban on rip rap work was lifted. She plans to post flyers around the lake to spread the word.

To view the Shoreline Management Plan or the amendment, visit

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