Clouds reflecting off the water at Lake Johnson

Managing Lakes in Raleigh

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Our Goal Our Priorities Lake Management Options Lake Projects and Studies

Did you know - all lakes in Raleigh are man-made? They were built to manage how water flows through the city when it rains. Lakes help control flood risk and provide a good ecosystem for wildlife. Water can also be stored for:

  • Mills;
  • Agriculture;
  • Drinking water supply; and,
  • Recreation. 

Our Goal

The main focus of the Lake Management Evaluation Program Policy is to protect the community and environment with a variety of lake options. View the policy (PDF)

There are more than 100 lakes in Raleigh. We will be assessing them for their stormwater and environmental benefits. Lake assessments will take place during watershed studies and other projects.

Our Priorities

When we are working on a lake-specific project, we take into account several factors like: 

  • Public safety
  • Reducing flood risk
  • Protecting waterways
  • Benefit to the entire watershed
  • Regulatory compliance

Project phases include planning, analysis, design, construction, and maintenance.

Lake Management Options

Based on our findings during a project, we will identify the most effective way(s) to manage a lake. Solutions will vary based on location and needs. This process involves discussions with the community, the Stormwater Management Advisory Commission (SMAC), and Raleigh City Council

Lake PreservationKeeping the shape of the lake the same with upgrades to spillways that carry water out of a lake. Other upgrades include the embankment (or foundation) of a dam that holds in water. 
Stream Restoration Restoring a lake to a natural stream that helps water flow downstream.
WetlandConverting the lake to a man-made wetland. This improves water quality and wildlife habitat. This is an example of a 'closer-to-source control' that stores and cleans water directly on a site to reduce pollution.

Lake Projects and Studies

View our lake projects and studies in Raleigh:



Scott Bryant, PE
Business & Financial Operations Manager

Engineering Services
Service Categories:
Board, Commission or Committee:
Stormwater Management Advisory Commission
Related Services:
Stormwater SystemWatersheds in Raleigh