Lake Martin News Article

FERC issues new Lake Martin license

Alabama Power
Posted: 12/17/2015

Alabama Power

New license raises lake level during winter, allows for extension of summer level when there is sufficient water

The Federal energy Regulatory Commission (FeRC) today issued Alabama Power a new 30-year license to operate Martin Dam, approving the company’s proposal to raise the winter level at the lake by 3 feet.

The new license also allows the company to extend the summer water level at the lake into the fall, if there is sufficient water available. The company also plans several recreational enhancements around the lake as part of the new license.

“We want to thank the thousands of Lake Martin stakeholders who participated in the relicensing process, and who supported the proposal to raise the lake level at Lake Martin,” said Mark Crosswhite, Alabama Power chairman, president and CeO.

“Raising the winter lake level and having the opportunity to extend the summer pool, when there is sufficient rainfall, will greatly enhance the recreational opportunities and aesthetics of Lake Martin for both residents and visitors. It will also have a positive economic impact for businesses around the lake,” said Matt Bowden, Alabama Power vice president of environmental Affairs.

Alabama Power has been working with stakeholders, local leaders and multiple public agencies since 2006 on relicensing the Lake Martin hydroelectric project. In April, experts at FeRC issued a final environmental Impact Statement that recommended including in the new license the higher winter level and conditional extension of the summer level.

According to the provisions of the new license, Alabama Power would maintain the water level on Lake Martin during the winter months up to an elevation of 484 feet, mean sea level (msl) (483 Martin Datum) instead of the current 481 feet, msl (480 Martin Datum). The company also would be permitted to maintain the lake up to the higher summer level of 491 feet msl (490 Martin Datum) for six weeks longer in the early fall – through mid-October – when certain criteria are met each year. Under the old license, the company has lowered the lake level beginning Sept. 1.

“We are glad to have the opportunity to provide higher lake levels in the fall when conditions allow it,” said Jim Crew, Hydro Services manager for Alabama Power. He noted, however, that in many years, conditions will not be favorable and sufficient water will not be available for an extended summer level.

A historical analysis by the company indicates that, on average, conditions for a higher fall pool elevation exist about once every four years.

Because the license provides for a 30-day review period, Alabama Power’s acceptance of the license is not effective until Jan. 20, 2016. At that time, Alabama Power will be required to begin implementing the new operating plan.

The new license also includes provisions for the company to make significant recreational and environmental enhancements around Lake Martin. The enhancements are expected to include the protection of additional undeveloped lands around the lake and improvements at shoreline recreational areas.

“We appreciate the partnerships and the hard work of our stakeholders, the FeRC staff, community leaders and other public agencies during the relicensing process,” Crew said. “We have worked toward this day for nearly a decade, and we look forward to continue working together for the benefit of Lake Martin and Lake Martin communities.”

Click the following link and select the Microsoft Word, “DOCX” file to view the license:

For more information about Alabama Power’s reservoirs, visit



Member Comments…

12/17/2015 11:50:48 AM
*FERC has issued new Lake Martin License - Osms

WE WON!!!!  FERC has issued the new license for Lake Martin effective December 17, 2015.  I haven't read it all yet, but by all appearances we have won a three foot higher winter pool, and the possibility of an extended summer pool.  Will APCo begin this winter by raising the pool from current'll have to ask them.  But for sure we'll have 483' next year.  Link to document is below:

12/17/2015 4:16:05 PM
*FERC has issued new Lake Martin License - Osms

I've learned a few more details.  The terms of the license go into effect 30 days after issuance, so we could see the lake begin fill to the 483' level beginning around Jan 20.  Of course, normal fill start date is about Feb 17, so we could see fill start on Jan 20, stop at 483', then start again on Feb 17.  Will advise more as we know more.

12/17/2015 5:27:15 PM
*FERC has issued new Lake Martin License - MartiniMan

Either way this is good news as 483 gives me year round water.  I do hope they raise it up early as my lake cam looks much better with water in the slough.  

12/18/2015 4:54:10 PM
*FERC has issued new Lake Martin License - lakngulf

I want 479 just this one more winter!  But, of course, I said the same thing last year


12/18/2015 5:11:02 PM
*You might need waders. - Osms

Per APCo, they plan to start back up on Jan 20.  I'm sure we'll get to 480' by 12/31, but I'm not sure they'll take it much lower unless we don't get any rain.  Two more articles links:

12/18/2015 5:14:15 PM
*FERC has issued new Lake Martin License - Osms

I meant to mention.  The next scheduled year for 480' is 2021, per the FERC license document.

12/18/2015 10:35:40 PM
*FERC has issued new Lake Martin License - cottonmouth

Smells like money to me!!!

12/20/2015 9:33:58 AM
*FERC has issued new Lake Martin License - alatraveler50

You need to go and build you a coffer dam about 10' out from the area you need to work in.  Don't think you will see 479 ever again.

12/20/2015 12:37:08 PM
*FERC has issued new Lake Martin License - lucky67

thanks to LMRA & ALA POWER & others for your hard work & dedication to this effort


12/20/2015 5:54:33 PM
*FERC has issued new Lake Martin License - au67

I assume you are including the HOBO's in "others".

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