Falls Lake

A group of kayakers paddle away from the camera on a fall day at Falls Lake.

A Valuable Resource

Falls Lake is an important resource for Durham and the region. Seven different areas around the lake offer opportunities for boating, fishing, swimming, picnicking, camping, hiking, and biking.

About 13,600 acres of land were designated as wildlife habitat around the lake. 

Falls Lake is also a drinking water reservoir for the City of Raleigh and surrounding areas.

Some portions of the lake exceed the state’s standards for chlorophyll-a (found in algae) and these sections of the lake were placed on the state’s list of impaired waters in 2008. Too many algae can stress fish populations and increase water treatment costs.

To address these issues in the lake, North Carolina adopted a set of regulations referred to as the Falls Lake Nutrient Management Strategy (NMS) in 2010. The plan is focused on nutrient management because controlling algae usually means controlling nitrogen and phosphorus. These are nutrients that algae and all plants need to grow. 

  1. New NMS
  2. Original NMS
  3. History
  4. Lake Elevation

The Nutrient Management Strategy is being revised. The new Nutrient Management Strategy will be cost-effective, achievable, and adaptive. The City of Durham and other regional stakeholders (such as the City of Raleigh and the Town of Butner) are cooperating through the Upper Neuse River Basin Association (UNRBA) to reexamine the NMS. Examining the goals, feasibility, and need for further nutrient reductions is leading to a new, more effective NMS.