Loop 1: Station 4
Lake Conestee Today
This is the East Bay, the largest remnant of Lake Conestee. This body of water is a “backwater slough”, about 12 acres in area, cut off from the Reedy River except during flooding events.
The original lake, the result of a dam constructed across the Reedy River in 1892, was over ten times the size of this embayment. Since 1940, the lake has rapidly filled with sediment from the Reedy River watershed. Over 95 percent of the lake volume is displaced with sediment.
As sediments accumulate, wetland plants colonize the shallow zones. As more sediment accretes, willows, maples and woody shrubs take root in this new land.
This portion of the lake will gradually fill in over the next thirty years, becoming an emergent wetland, with cattails and other aquatic plants. This unique environment provides habitat for a variety of fish, amphibians, waterfowl, and songbirds.
What is the story of the incredible shrinking lake?
In the Piedmont nearly all lakes are manmade, usually by placing a dam on a stream or in a drainage area to create a reservoir. We know from property records and old aerial photos that Lake Conestee was once about 135 acres. As sediment has accumulated, the area of the lake has grown ever smaller. Eventually the lake will be nearly completely filled except for the river channel, a few wetland pockets, and beaver-impounded areas.
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