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Duke Energy: Enforcing island rules successful

CHARLOTTE -- Efforts that began at the start of summer by local law enforcement and Duke Energy to aggressively protect Duke Energy-owned islands along the Catawba-Wateree River Basin have proven successful.

River enthusiasts have complied with rules that prohibit overnight use of the islands, including those at Lake Wylie. In addition, instances of island littering and destruction have significantly decreased.

Tim Gestwicki, deputy director of conservation programs at the North Carolina Wildlife Federation, agrees the increased effort has been effective.

"The islands serve as an oasis for a variety of both animal and plant species. These habitats deserve protection for all to enjoy. Duke Energy should be applauded for taking the necessary steps to protect the islands," Gestwicki said.

Local island enthusiasts agree. Julian Almaraz, a member of the Lake Norman Golden Boys Club, said, "We appreciate efforts to keep the islands clean. For the past four years, our group has held our annual picnic on one of the islands in Lake Norman."

Day-use of the islands for public recreation (fishing, picnicking, hiking, wildlife viewing, etc.) continues to be allowed and encouraged. However, prohibited items and activities on the islands include permanent structures, fires or littering, and removal of vegetation.

Any questions relating to the proper use of these islands should be directed to Duke Energy's lake services at (800) 443-5193.