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Lake Norman, created between 1959 and 1964 as part of the construction of the Cowans Ford Dam by Duke Energy, is the largest manmade body of fresh water located entirely within North Carolina . It is fed by the Catawba River. It was named after former Duke Power president Norman Cocke. Lake Norman is sometimes referred to as the "inland sea" of North Carolina; it offers 520 miles (840 km) of shoreline and a surface area of more than 50 square miles (130 km2). Full pond elevation at Lake Norman is 760 feet (230 m). Interstate 77 and North Carolina Highway 150 cross Lake Norman at different points.
Lake Norman provides electricity to the Piedmont region of the Carolinas. It powers the generators at the hydroelectric station at Cowans Ford and is used by Marshall Steam Station and McGuire Nuclear Station to cool the steam that drives their turbines. The lake supplies water to Lincoln County, Iredell Co., Mooresville, Charlotte , and other towns in Mecklenburg County, particularly Davidson and Huntersville.
Duke Power partnered with the state of North Carolina to establish Lake Norman State Park. It has also built two bank fishing areas and eight public boating access areas along the shoreline. One site is leased to Mecklenburg County and one to Iredell County. Popular game fish in Lake Norman include catfish , crappie, bluegill and yellow perch, as well as striped, largemouth,white bass along with multiple types of turtles.
Lake Norman is also the location for one of the International Jet Sport Boats Association (IJSBA) tour stops. Team Tweek, a race team headquartered in Mooresville, helps promote and coordinate the annual event.