The Creation of Lake Anna, was taken from their January 10, 1972, The Central Virginian's Reprint of Virginia Electic and Power's article
According to information obtained at the Lake Anna State Park, in 1971 the lake wascreated for the purpose of providing cooling waters for the North Anna Nuclear Power Plant that was subsequently built.
As quoted from the State Park's website, "The land in Lake Anna State Park used to be known as Gold Hill and contained the Goodwin Gold Mine. Gold was first discovered in 1829 with mining reaching its peak in the 1880s. The last gold to be found was in a zinc mine during the 1940s. In 1971, Lake Anna was created to serve as a water coolant for Virginia Power's nuclear plant. In 1972, work began on the acquisition and development of a water-oriented state park. Lake Anna State Park opened in 1983".
Creating the lake was accomplished by building a 90 foot high dam on the North Anna River near Bumpass, VA creating the 17 mile long Lake Anna west of the dam. The main part of the lake stems from the dam (commonly referred to as the lower lake) to the "splits" approximately 9 miles west. Past the splits (commonly referred to as the upper lake), the lake forks to the west and northwest. To the west, the continuing North Anna River provides navigable waters for approximately 8 miles. To the northwest, the Pamunkey Creek is navigable for approximately 6 miles.
Several bridges cross the North Anna River and Pamunkey Creek on the upper lake. Most boats, under 25 feet, are able to cruise under these bridges (although you may have to lower bimini tops and antennas). The main bridge for route 208, approximately 1 mile below the "splits", is the only bridge that crosses the lower side of the lake.
Due to low areas that existed off of the North Anna River and Pamunkey Creek, many "side" tributaries were also created along with the lake. These provide additional water resources for boating, recreation and communities.
On the north shore of the "splits", the state park was built opening in 1983, offering recreational beach, picnic, boating, hiking and other facilities.
For the purpose of providing a means of disbursing warm waters from the power plant, without affecting the main portion of the lake, the lake was split into two navigable parts, the public and private (warm) side. This was accomplished by building dikes across the mouth of the first three tributaries from the dam, on the south shore. Each of these tributaries were then inter-connected by canals to dispense the warm waters throughout all of them, eventually returning the cooled water to the main lake at dike 3.