Smoky Mountain Hydro

Smoky Mountain Hydro

In preparation for the possibility of several inches of rainfall as a result of Hurricane Joaquin, BSMH will need to cancel the high flow event scheduled for 10/3. In addition we will be drawing down Santeetlah reservoir in preparation for this rainfall. You may notice lower than normal water levels during the next several days. In addition, we urge extreme caution around all waterways before, during and after this potential storm.


Water level at Chilhowee Dam on Little Tennessee River to be lowered on TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 8th for Testing

Tallassee, TN - August 31, 2015 – Brookfield Renewable Energy Group:

Brookfield Smoky Mountain Hydropower LLC (BSMH) in partnership with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and an independent Board of Consultants (BOC), has determined the need to draw down Chilhowee Reservoir to investigate seepage at our Chilhowee facility. Beginning on or about September 8, 2015, BSMH will draw down Chilhowee Reservoir at a rate of 1 foot per day to a maximum drawdown of about 40 feet by the end of October. BSMH and the FERC continue to work with resource agency representatives including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency (TWRA), Tennessee State Historical Preservation Office to ensure all environmental, historical and public safety concerns are mitigated.

The following procedures have been established:

  • BSMH will continue to provide the required minimum downstream releases into Tellico Reservoir, and Chilhowee Reservoir will be generally operated as run-of-river during the investigation.
  • During the investigation and drawdown all boat launch areas will be closed, and all boating will be prohibited. Additionally, the Pear Tree access area in Monroe County, TN will be closed and camping will be prohibited. BSMH will give advance notice, on-site, of the closures. The day-use only areas along US Highway 129 will remain open.
  • Walk-in bank fishing will be permitted in pool areas downstream from the mouth of Abrams Creek only. All reservoir access above Abrams Creek will be prohibited.
  • BSMH will work with TWRA’s Wildlife Management Officer and the local county sheriff’s departments to increase patrols at the reservoir.

If there are any questions, please contact or 518-615-9352.

Brookfield Smoky Mountain Hydropower features 4 facilities of 378 MW of installed capacity and 86 miles of transmission located in the western portion of the Little Tennessee watershed on the Little Tennessee and Cheoah Rivers in Graham and Swain counties in North Carolina, and Blount and Monroe Counties in Tennessee.

The facilities lie in the Southern Appalachian Region adjacent to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Cherokee and Nantahala National Forests and contribute to the area's rich historical, cultural, environmental and recreational features.

Brookfield Smoky Mountain Hydropower is certified as low impact by the Low Impact Hydropower Institute.


Brookfield Smoky Mountain Hydropower (FERC Project No. 2169) is operated by Brookfield Renewable Energy Group. On January 25, 2005, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a new 40 year operating license.

Brookfield Smoky Mountain Hydropower features four reservoirs — Santeetlah, Cheoah, Calderwood and Chilhowee - that offer diverse recreation opportunities and important habitat for plants, fish and wildlife.

The Cheoah Dam and powerhouse were constructed from 1916 to 1919; the Santeetlah facility from 1925 through 1928; the Calderwood facility from 1928 to 1930; and the Chilhowee facility from 1955 through 1957. They have a combined licensed capacity of 380.1 MW.

Three of the 4 hydroelectric dams -- Cheoah, Calderwood and Chilhowee -- are located on the Little Tennessee River. The fourth dam, Santeetlah, is located on the Cheoah River, a tributary to the Little Tennessee River.

Smoky Mountain Hydro | Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners
Myra Hair
Compliance Specialist
Phone: (865) 207-7902

Generation schedule, elevation and flow data are available in the Recreation and Flow section