Advocacy For High Rock Lake

by | Oct 11, 2021 | High Rock Lake

We have a man-made lake in our county. We are lucky. However, our natural resource does need help from all of us. From those that live on the lake, the thousands who participate in fishing tournaments and the many who visit HRL for recreational purposes.

Let’s review the consistent work that is being done on our collective behalf. Advocacy at its best.

Advocacy comes in many forms, small non-profit as HRLCleanSweep, state and local government of course, deliberate actions of membership organizations as High Rock Lake Association, and our educators.

As an active member of our lakeside community, I am proud of the association with HRLCleanSweep and what we accomplished last month. High Rock Lake Clean Sweep is a non-profit organization committed to having a consorted effort among its communities in Davidson and Rowan Counties for the environmental and recreational sake of our High Rock Lake.

Even during a pandemic, the annual HRLCleanSweep was scheduled for Saturday, September 18. With approximately 100 volunteers between the two counties and two collection locations: N.C. Wildlife Access, Hwy. 8 Southmont and N.C. Wildlife Access, Bringle Ferry Road, Salisbury. The diligent and diverse participants were comprised of boy scouts, neighborhood associations, and civic groups. We collected more than four tons of man-made trash. Let me explain what was pulled from our recreational entity: 85 tires, some with rims still attached, liquor and oil bottles, beer, and soda cans, chewing tobacco canisters and more.


During the HRLCleanSweep, I met Tracy Graham, the group leader for RoCo Anglers; a Rowan County fishing organization created in 2019 by Chris Corriher and Bob Baier, to introduce and teach up-and-coming fishermen to learn and appreciate competitive fishing. Although based in Rowan County the youth fishing group is open to school-age children in sixth through twelfth grade in any county in N.C.

“We need sponsors and volunteers,” shared Graham. “Our vision is to grow participation through a wider reach. We need volunteers to teach the kids about fishing, the guidelines of N.C. Wildlife, design and create original bait lures and share key learnings from their fishing excursions. Many of these kids’ families do not have bass boats. We need boat captains to volunteer for three Saturdays during our season. Each boat will take two of the junior anglers out for the day. “

The next BASS Western NC High School and Junior Series event is scheduled for October 30th at Second Dutch Creek, Bringle Ferry Road, Salisbury.

The 2022-2023 team jerseys will be available for sponsorships and range from $200 – $500 depending on the business logo location on the shirts. Junior anglers wear the jerseys when competing, and entry fees are $10 for middle school and $20 for high school students for each tournament.

For more information and to learn how you can help, please join the next meeting on October 17 at Cornerstone Baptist Church at 5 PM, or check out their Facebook page: Rowan County Youth Fishing


The HRLA is a 501C3 non-profit, any donation will be tax-deductible. The organization was formed in 1954.

 The board of directors is volunteers who give their time to ensure High Rock Lake remains a viable recreational body of water. Some are second-generation lake residents and have seen firsthand what can happen when agreements in place for the hydro-power plant are not adhered to. The association is comprised of members from both sides of the lake – Davidson and Rowan Counties; working together is of utmost importance for the overall well-being of High Rock Lake.

I wanted to share several of the accomplishments HRLA has implemented:

  • New NC Residential Code issued effective July 1 standards for piers & docks associated with single or two-family private dwellings no longer require a permit for repairs to piers or boathouses if repairs are “like-for-like”  cube. See Eagle Creek R.E. Website
  • A County building permit is not required for work on existing piers costing less than $15K, nor is a county permit required for new or existing piers that comply with Code size limitations
  • April 2019 HRLA sends letter to FERC asking to mandate the licensee to remove dead trees in the reservoir
  • June 2019 FERC responds with reference to SMP deflecting those trees are fish habitats
  • High Rock Lake to be operated to keep water level within 4 ft. of the full pond between April 1 to October 31; and within 10 ft. of the full pond between November 1 and March 31
  • October 2021 Eagle Creek Renewable Energy acknowledged the removal of dead trees from the reservoir, that pose a hazard to project operation, or safety or navigational hazard is their responsibility. This does NOT include lap trees (trees that have fallen into the lake but are still attached by roots to the land) or other dead wood that provide important habitat for fish and wildlife.
  • The understanding from Eagle Creek executives including Jody Smet, VP Regulatory Affairs, confirms work will begin by mid-October and continue through the month of October to remove/move trees and logs that are safety and navigational issue.
  • HRLA provided Eagle Creek with a Google Map with waypoints and GPS coordinates for 44 hazards located.

Ontario Power Generators buys Cube Hydro Corporation (Eagle Creek Renewable Energy), and the new owner is working diligently with HRLA.

HRLA has established the following priorities for 2022 and beyond and include:

  • Shoreline Management Plan which includes stabilization, natural vegetation, and collaboration with NC Wildlife Resources Commission
  • Navigation Aids: Engineering Study and working on the proposed budget, $10,000 earmarked from ALCOA 10 years ago for the project, consult with Stewart Engineering who handles Cube’s stabilization; Discussion with US Coast Guard & NCWRC on potential grants
  • Drought Management Committee
  • Cube Hydro / Eagle Creek Renewable Energy Responsibilities for the clearing of trees and logs that may be safety and navigational hazards.
  • Working with Rowan County/Eagle Creek R.E. to determine the desired location for the new recreational site in Rowan County by 2028.

The HRLA and its all-volunteer board engaged in many community activities such as the 3rd Annual July 4th Dock Decorating Contest which included 20 entries in 2021. Kim and Randy Hall won for the second time in three years.

Participation in the annual Rowan Chamber Dragon Boat Festival with a team and display space to engage current members and share info with event attendees. The third initiative was the 4th Annual HRL Clean Sweep on September 18th

As I mentioned earlier in the blog.

To learn more about HRLA or consider joining HRLA to make your voice heard and help the association make progress on the priorities that make a difference to you. Please log into HRLA.com

Ensuring our lake and all the benefits that go with a free recreational asset is something we all need to be aware of by volunteering for a specific event, or simply learning more about High Rock Lake.

I would love to hear from you on what your favorite lake activity is, or someone that you would like me to feature in 2021. Please email me at highrock@YourRowan.com


#itsaROCOthing         #lakeliving      #YourRowan   #BeAnOriginal     #HighRockLake   #LakeLife

About The Author

Joyce Caron-Mercier

After three decades of working in the motorsports industry from track and team management to public relations, and overseeing sponsorship and driver contracts within NASCAR, NHRA, IndyCar and World of Outlaws competition, Joyce wanted more. She came to ACS Charlotte in February 2020 as the staff lead for the annual Taste of Hope Charlotte gala. Joyce’s role encompasses event production, sponsorship cultivation and implementation, public awareness, and interaction with the Charlotte gala Board of Ambassadors, and launched the Young Professionals CLT ABOA in 2022. Joyce and her husband Paul of 32 years discovered High Rock Lake, situated between Rowan and Davidson Counties, and quickly became full-time lake residents on North Carolina’s second largest lake with their two Great Danes, Max and Molly. Joyce writes a monthly blog for Your Rowan, a county marketing initiative to share the positive attributes of Rowan County with its residents and visitors. Joyce’s blog and social handles are called ‘Joyce on the Lake’. Being community minded is important and I serve as Secretary on the Board of Directors for the High Rock Lake Association, High Rock Lake Clean Sweep, and assist the Rowan Chamber with their annual Dragon Boat Festival.