NASHVILLE, Tenn. (May 19, 2016) – Due to lack of substantial rainfall in the past months, U.S. Drought Monitor classification has much of the Cumberland River Basin including the Stones River Watershed in the Moderate Drought category. Currently, J. Percy Priest Lake’s elevation is approximately three feet below the top of summer pool, and without significant rainfall the lake may not reach its typical summer elevation of 490 feet above mean sea level.
Due to this lower than normal water level, swimmers and boaters are advised to be especially cautious when recreating at J. Percy Priest Lake. Lower water levels make navigation more hazardous in more shallow areas where structures such as rocks or snags are closer to the surface.
“There have been rumors going around that the lower lake level is because of an issue at the dam. This is not true. There is nothing wrong with the operation or status of the dam. The lower lake level is strictly due to a lack of rainfall this spring,” said Todd Yann, J. Percy Priest Lake resource manager.
Boaters should proceed with caution and stay within the designated channel if they are unfamiliar with the lake. Boaters are also advised to keep a detailed lake map (available at sporting goods stores) that indicates channel locations and depths. One particular area to avoid is the cut-through between Hobson Pike Bridge and Pear Island. Many boaters have experienced damage to their vessels from the rocks in this area.
Swimmers should likewise exercise caution and not go beyond the pipelines at the lake’s three swim beaches at Anderson Road Day Use, Cook Day Use, and Seven Points Campground. Areas outside of the lines contain unseen hazards to swimmers, as well as boat traffic.
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