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History of Lake Anna's Formation

Lake Anna is a 13,000-acre reservoir in the triangle formed by the cities of Charlottesville, Fredericksburg, and Richmond, Virginia. The lake was created by Virginia Electric and Power Company, now Dominion Energy, in 1972 to serve as a recreational lake and provide cooling water for the North Anna Nuclear Power Station.  It consists of two parts, the cold or public side consisting of 9,400 acres and the Waste Heat Treatment Facility, also known as the warm or private side, consisting of 3,400 acres.

In 1968, the power company began purchasing 18,000 acres of farmland along the North Anna and Pamunkey rivers in Louisa, Orange and Spotsylvania counties to create the pond, which is used as a fresh water source for the power station and a cooling pond for the discharged heated water.

By 1972, a majority of the lake bottom bordered by the three counties had been cleared of all timber and the dam at the lower end of the lake was nearing completion.  Three earthen dikes were also constructed to separate the main lake from the Waste Heat Treatment Facility, which is located entirely in Louisa County.  Projected to take three years to completely fill under normal rainfall, the lake actually filled to capacity in 18 months thanks in part of rainfall from Hurricane Agnes which passed over Central Virginia in 1972.

In June 1978, the first of the two nuclear reactors went into commercial operation with the second unit following in December 1980.  Both were initially licensed for 20 years and have each received a 20-year extension.

The lake's 200+ miles of shoreline are now dotted with houses, marinas, campgrounds and a large state park. Lake Anna and its watershed lie astride three counties of Central Virginia with a rich history and diversified environment. Louisa County on the south side of Lake Anna encompasses over 50% of the watershed, primarily because of the Waste Heat Treatment Facility. Orange County to the northwest of Lake Anna is the smallest county in both area and population, and comprises about 25% of the watershed. Spotsylvania County to the north of Lake Anna contains only 20% of the lake watershed, but is the most populous and rapidly growing of the three counties.

Lake Anna is one of Virginia’s premier fishing waters, hosting a fish population of striped bass, largemouth bass, perch, crappies, catfish, and bluegill, and is the site of numerous bass tournaments. The lake is served by over half a dozen marinas and several public boat launching sites which charge a small fee for launching services. For everyone's safety, the lake is patrolled by the Department of Wildlife Resources' (formerly DGIF) conservation officers, Spotsylvania and Louisa counties sheriffs’ offices, and the Coast Guard Auxiliary Lake Anna Flotilla #87.

Lake Anna
Lake Anna Photography

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