Gathright Dam’s pulse release scheduled for today

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Norfolk District
Published July 20, 2022

The Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, scheduled pulse release at Gathright Dam, near Covington, Va., began today, Wednesday, July 20, at approximately 6 a.m.

Water releases will gradually increase and peak at 3,500 cubic feet per second by 9 a.m. The maximum surge will last two hours, begin to gradually decrease at 11 a.m., and return to approximately 246 cfs by 1:30 p.m. 

The pulse is expected to raise the water level downstream in the Jackson River by up to five feet in some sections and up to three and a half feet in the upper James River, but will remain several feet below flood stage. In some areas, the rate of the river rise may exceed two feet per hour.

Releases from Gathright Dam are normally at a constant height and flow during this time of year. The pulse release will help control algae growth and improve water quality and habitat in the lower Jackson River.

The remaining 2022 pulse dates are scheduled for the following Wednesdays, subject to hydrological and environmental conditions:

Aug. 10
Aug. 31
Sep. 21
Oct. 12

The pulse releases are part of the Low Flow Augmentation project purpose for the Gathright Dam and Lake Moomaw Project to improve the overall water quality and ecological resources in the lower Jackson River. The series of pulses was developed, in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources.

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.