US Army Corps of Engineers
Norfolk District Website

Officials announce Gathright Dam pulse release dates

Norfolk District
Published June 15, 2016
COVINGTON, Va. -- Gathright Dam's intake tower rises out of Lake Moomaw Dec. 12, 2012. The earthen and rolled rock-fill dam impounds the flow of the Jackson River and creates Lake Moomaw, serving both flood control and recreational purposes. (U.S. Army photo/Kerry Solan)

COVINGTON, Va. -- Gathright Dam's intake tower rises out of Lake Moomaw Dec. 12, 2012. The earthen and rolled rock-fill dam impounds the flow of the Jackson River and creates Lake Moomaw, serving both flood control and recreational purposes. (U.S. Army photo/Kerry Solan)

NORFOLK, Va. -- The Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will deviate from Gathright Dam's existing water control plan in order to conduct five pulse releases near Covington, Virginia from July through October 2016. 

The pulses, conducted by the Norfolk District in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, will begin at approximately 6 a.m. and end at 1:30 p.m. and will increase levels 3 to 4.5 feet in the Jackson River. 

The agencies advise people who use the river to be aware of the river fluctuations caused by the pulses.  

The 2016 pulse dates are scheduled for the following Wednesdays: 

July 20
Aug. 10
Aug. 31
Sept. 21
Oct. 12 

Pulse dates are subject to change based on weather conditions and rainfall. 

The pulses will allow Norfolk District hydraulic experts to gather a full season of monitoring data. The data will help to document the water quality and environmental benefits of an alternate water control plan for the dam. 

The deviation from the water control plan will slightly reduce river flow by an average of 10 percent from the dam, resulting in a 1-inch drop in the Jackson River.  

The releases will not have negative effects on the water levels at Lake Moomaw; levels are expected to remain slightly above where they would have been under the existing water control plan. The water reserved in the lake from the reduced flow will be used for the pulse releases, similar to how the Corps conducted the prior pulses. 

Results obtained from previous pulse releases indicated a continuing improvement to the water quality and habitat in the Jackson River.