US Army Corps of Engineers
Norfolk District Website

Gathright Dam ‘pulse release’ to increase Jackson River water flow

Published Aug. 9, 2013
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.

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.

Gathright Dam's intake tower stands out in Lake Moomaw Oct. 13, 2010. The dam and Lake Moomaw Project provide flood protection of industrial, commerical and residential properties along the Jackson and James rivers with immediate impact on Covington, Va.

Gathright Dam's intake tower stands out in Lake Moomaw Oct. 13, 2010. The dam and Lake Moomaw Project provide flood protection of industrial, commerical and residential properties along the Jackson and James rivers with immediate impact on Covington, Va.

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/Patrick Bloodgood)

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/Patrick Bloodgood)

NORFOLK – The Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, will conduct a pulse release at Gathright Dam, near Covington, Va., on Tuesday, Aug. 13, beginning 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 250 cfs by 2 p.m.

People should be aware of river fluctuations caused by the pulse.

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 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 controlled release will help determine whether the pulses effectively remove algae and improve water quality in the lower Jackson River

The remaining 2013 pulse dates are scheduled for the following Tuesdays, subject to hydrological conditions:

Sept. 3
Sept. 24
Oct. 15

The pulses are part of the Low Flow Augmentation Project 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 Game and Inland Fisheries.