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Gathright Dam pulse release canceled as river conditions ‘favorable’

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Norfolk District
Published June 17, 2021
Gathright Dam at the dam crest overlooking downstream. Gathright Dam located in Alleghany County, Va., impounds the water flowing down the Jackson River to create the 2,500 acre Lake Moomaw. The dam has prevented numerous floods over its 30 plus year existence saving countless dollars and lives. (U.S. Army photo/Breeana Harris)

Gathright Dam at the dam crest overlooking downstream. Gathright Dam located in Alleghany County, Va., impounds the water flowing down the Jackson River to create the 2,500 acre Lake Moomaw. The dam has prevented numerous floods over its 30 plus year existence saving countless dollars and lives. (U.S. Army photo/Breeana Harris)

NORFOLK, Va. – Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials have canceled the upcoming pulse release scheduled for Wednesday, June 23 at Gathright Dam in the Alleghany Highlands of Virginia near Covington.

The pulse was called off due to overall “favorable” Jackson River conditions and due to recent high water flows caused by heavy rainfall in the region. The decision was reached in coordination with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

During a pulse release, dam operators gradually increase water flow to a rate of 3,500 cubic feet per second. In some areas, the Jackson River can rise more than 2 feet an hour.

The next scheduled pulse release in 2021 is set for July 21. Dates are subject to change based on the existing environmental and hydrologic conditions on the Jackson River.

For Gathright Dam schedule changes and release updates, refer to www.nao-wc.usace.army.mil/nao/projected_Q.html.

Pulse releases, which began in 2011, are designed to improve aquatic habitat and water quality in the Lower Jackson River. Monitoring data has shown the increased flow scours excess algae downstream and strengthens the river’s health.

Norfolk District provides innovative engineering solutions – in collaboration with partners – to deliver water resources, military, interagency, environmental and disaster-response programs that make communities, the commonwealth of Virginia and nation a better place to work and live.