North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

Rhodes Pond Update

Check back frequently for updates on the dam repairs for Rhodes pond.


Latest Update - May 1, 2017


The Rhodes Pond Dam repair project was progressing well and was scheduled to be completed on December 5, 2016 when disaster struck. 


On the weekend of October 8, 2016 Hurricane Matthew rolled into the area.  Hurricane Matthew was the first Category 5 Atlantic hurricane since Hurricane Felix in 2007 and the total rainfall within Rhodes Pond Dam’s drainage basin was estimated to be as high as 15 inches.  For reference, the 100 year – 48 hour design storm required by North Carolina Dam Safety for high hazard dam design is approximately 10 inches.  This level of rainfall resulted in overtopping of the dam crest and breaches on both sides of the existing concrete primary spillway.  Both I-95 and US 301 were shut down due to flooding.


Damage to the earthen portions of the dam were extensive.  There were several small breaches and one very large breach.  The 60-foot+ breach on the north end of the primary spillway revealed very poor quality soils – soils filled with sand, bricks, chunks of concrete, I-beams, lumber, etc.  These soils will need to be removed and replaced/compacted with clean soils with a higher clay content.


The primary spillway, what most people would refer to as “the dam”, received damage as well.  The wall at the north end of the primary spillway shows evidence of shifting where the largest breach occurred.  The breach also revealed large root infiltration into the concrete structure – a structure built in the early 1900’s, likely poured with cold seams and without steel reinforcement.



The cost of repairs for Rhodes Pond Dam is enormous and the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission is working diligently with FEMA for funding.  It is likely that the primary spillway will need to be replaced due to age, damage, and lack of flow capacity.  Other options for repair include extending the existing structure or adding a long auxiliary spillway. 

 The level of financial assistance from FEMA will ultimately decide which repair will be made.


Latest Update - Oct. 12, 2016

Due to the record rains delivered by Hurricane Matthew, Rhodes Pond was overtopped and was breached in multiple locations.  This occurred before final reconstruction could be completed. The total of the damage will be assessed once the pond drains completely.  Construction is currently halted and will resume once an engineered solution can be determined.  Dependent on the extent of damage, it is estimated that this project will be delayed between one and nine months.

Latest Update - Sept. 6, 2016

The change order for the new wall design at Rhodes Pond was approved.  The contractor will be back on site next week to start work again.  The new completion date is 12/05/2016.

Last Update June 1, 2016

The construction for Rhodes Pond is moving along well. 


The work on the west side of the primary spillway is complete. The work on the west side included berm construction with rip rap for wave protection, a French drain, replacement of yard lamps, and seeding/strawing the property.


The work on the secondary spillway has been completed.  This work involved demolition of the top of the secondary spillway so that it could be reconstructed at a lower level.


The work on the primary spillway will resume shortly.  The power lines running across the primary spillway were recently lifted higher by Duke Energy by replacing existing power poles with taller poles.  This was to allow for equipment access while installing sheet piles for washout protection during storm events. The installation of the sheet piles requires a crane, but unfortunately, even with the raised pole/wires height, a crane still won’t achieve the necessary clearance. DH Griffin designed an H-pile alternative, which we’re anticipating will be approved by Dam Safety and the State Construction Office in the coming days.


The clearing work on the east side of the main spillway is complete. The existing PFA was removed for installation of an auxiliary spillway and will be reinstalled at a location closer to the boat ramp. The work on the east side of the primary spillway is currently halted as the construction for the auxiliary spillway must follow the work at the primary spillway.


Anticipated completion date for this project is Nov. 1, 2016.  



Latest Update Feb. 5, 2016


  • December 2, 2015– Dam Safety issued Certificate of Approval for repairs
  • February 2, 2016 – State Construction Office issued a Formal Award Letter to the low bidder
  • Late February/Early March 2016 – Construction is expected to begin
  • Mid-Fall 2016 – Project is expected to be complete




Latest Update (December 18, 2015)



  • July 2015 – Construction Drawings submitted to Dam Safety and other regulatory agencies for review
  • August/September 2015 – Obtain permits and submit to State Construction Office for approval to bid
  • Fall 2015 – Bid project and begin construction
  • Late Summer 2016 – Project complete


The NC Wildlife Resources Commission was contacted by the NCDOT approximately 8 years ago in regards to this property.  At the time, the gates at the dam were in a state of disrepair and had been inspected by the NC Land Resources Dam Safety Division.  The inspection noted several deficiencies with the dam that would need to be corrected.  The NCDOT executive management met with WRC officials and asked us if we would be interested in the property.  According to the DOT at that meeting, the pond was surplus property to them and investing in the dam repairs was not in their interest.  
A site visit soon followed by WRC staff and it was quickly recognized as a wonderful resource for our constituents and local residents.  We felt that if the dam was not repaired and the lake was drained, it would be a great loss to the citizens of this state.  After coordinating with the State Property Office and the DOT, the property was finally transferred to WRC in 2009.  The DOT also transferred $150,000.00 worth of funding towards the repair of the dam gates.


WRC has spent approximately an additional $350,000.00 in replacing the dam control gates and providing free public access opportunities to the local and state residents including the development of a new boat ramp and floating docks, a floating fishing pier, road improvements, wildlife observation deck and parking lots.  All of these facilities are free and open to the public 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.  They are also handicap accessible.  
WRC has also formed a partnership and formal agreement with the City of Fayetteville Parks and Recreation to provide onsite programs such as fishing, kayaking, hiking and boating opportunities for folks.  
Wildlife Officials have held a number of public meetings at the site to discuss our future plans and concerns with the local residents and Town Officials.
We have one construction crew stationed at this location and they are assigned maintenance and operations in addition to their construction activities.


In June of 2013 and during the Tropical Storm Andrea, the water level rose in the pond and overtopped the dam causing erosion around the spillway.  DENR – Dam Safety inspected the dam and sent WRC a notice of deficiency changing the classification from intermediate hazard to a high hazard dam and required us to drain the pond until investigation and repairs could be made.  
WRC obtained the assistance of a consultant to perform an analysis of the dam and found it needed significant improvements to comply with a high hazard classification.  Further evaluation by the consultant and construction cost estimates ranged from $2-3.5 million dollars.  Staff from WRC did not agree with the consultants assessments, proposals and cost estimates so we terminated the contract.  
A new consultant was hired and we believe we have discovered a much more cost effective way of bringing the dam into compliance by creating overtopping protection.  This option has been discussed with Dam Safety and it appears to be a viable solution which will result in over $1 million savings to the agency from the previous consultants work.  The Commission hopes to have the dam repairs completed by July 2015, and the lake re-filled by early September.