Apco: Buck Dam will close its New River portage until late July

ROANOKE, Va., July 6, 2018 – The Buck dam portage on New River will be closed effective Tuesday, July 10 to allow the safe completion of construction work at the Appalachian Power hydroelectric plant.

The work is expected to be completed by July 27.

The Buck dam and powerhouse, and its sister Byllesby dam and powerhouse upstream, are operated by Appalachian Power and are located in Carroll County near Galax, Va. The Buck reservoir will be lowered about 8 feet for the construction work.

Because the drawdown in the Buck reservoir will be too quick for mussels to move and maintain immersion in the water, Appalachian will use a contractor to patrol the receding waterline to rescue, log, and relocate stranded mussels to a nearby and compatible habitat.

Signs indicating the portage closure will be posted at Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries access points above the Buck reservoir and at the project site. The portage at Byllesby dam has also been closed until November for construction work there.

The alternative for river kayakers and canoeists is to take out at Fries, the last access before reaching Byllesby dam.  The nearest location to put in downstream of the dam is at Austinville.

Appalachian Power is replacing some flashboards at the Buck dam.

Work completion will depend on weather and other conditions that could affect timing.

Appalachian Power has 1 million customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee (as AEP Appalachian Power). It is a unit of American Electric Power, one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity and custom energy solutions to nearly 5.4 million customers in 11 states. AEP owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system, a more than 40,000-mile network that includes more 765-kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined. AEP also operates 224,000 miles of distribution lines.  AEP ranks among the nation’s largest generators of electricity, owning approximately 26,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP supplies 3,200 megawatts of renewable energy to customers.