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News Release

Federal and State Partners Celebrate Completion of Dam Rehabilitation Projects in Mountain Run Watershed

Barbara Bowen / Paige Read
804-287-1679 / 540-727-0611

  Aerial view of the Mountain Run Dam project as it appeared in December of 2018

Aerial view of the Mountain Run Dam project as it appeared in December of 2018

Richmond, VA, August 2, 2019 – On August 8, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will join state and local partners at Culpeper’s Lake Pelham Dam to celebrate a milestone in dam rehabilitation about 10 years in the making. The 10 a.m. ribbon cutting ceremony will mark the completion of all required upgrades to the Lake Pelham and Mountain Run Lake multi-purpose flood control and water supply structures in the Mountain Run Watershed. 

Featured speakers include:

  • Chris Hively, Culpeper Town Manager
  • Jim Hoy, Culpeper Director of Public Services
  • Michael Olinger, Culpeper Mayor
  • Jack Bricker, NRCS Virginia State Conservationist
  • Clyde Cristman, Director of the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation

NRCS has assisted with the construction of 150 Virginia dams since 1954 and has collaborated with the Town of Culpeper and the Culpeper Soil and Water Conservation District (CSWCD) on flood prevention since the late 1950s. Through this partnership, the Town of Culpeper and the CSWCD constructed two single and three multi-purpose flood-control dams in the 58,160-acre watershed between 1959 and 1973: Caynor Lake and Mountain Run Lake (1959), Merrimac Lake (1960), Lake Pelham (1972) and Catalpa Lake (1973).

The five dams provide flood control, water supply and recreational benefits to residents of Culpeper County and the Town of Culpeper. As the Mountain Run Lake and Lake Pelham dams began to age, the Town needed to upgrade these structures to meet more stringent design and safety standards. The CSWCD owns and operates the remaining three dams, which are not being considered for rehabilitation at this time.

Culpeper officials began discussions with NRCS in 2009, later partnering with the agency to develop rehabilitation plans and designs and complete construction this year. NRCS and the local sponsors used federal funds allocated under the "Small Watershed Rehabilitation Amendments of 2000" to leverage state and local funds for these projects.

The Town of Culpeper acquired additional property from the Lakeview Homeowners Association to extend the Lake Pelham dam and partnered with the HOA to develop a connector trail. They also coordinated the design with a master park plan to maximize future recreational access. These newly refurbished dams will offer flood protection for local roads, highways, businesses, and residences for the next 50 years.

The event is open to the public. Contact Paige Read, Culpeper Director of Economic Development and Tourism, at or 540-727-0611 for more details on the program.