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Gathright Dam’s first pulse release set for Wednesday

Published July 17, 2020
Gathright Dam in Alleghany County, Virginia, impounds water flowing down the Jackson River to create the 2,500-acre Lake Moomaw. Since opening in 1979, the dam has prevented numerous floods, saving countless dollars and lives.

Gathright Dam in Alleghany County, Virginia, impounds water flowing down the Jackson River to create the 2,500-acre Lake Moomaw. Since opening in 1979, the dam has prevented numerous floods, saving countless dollars and lives. (U.S. Army photo/Vince Little)

COVINGTON, Va. – Gathright Dam operators are scheduled to conduct the year’s first water-pulse release from Lake Moomaw on Wednesday.

The pulse, managed by Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in coordination with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, will occur between 6 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

At its peak, dam operators will release 3,500 cubic feet of water per second and increase Jackson River levels 3 to 4.5 feet.

People who use the river are advised to be aware of fluctuations caused by the pulses, agency officials said.

Engineers canceled a pulse release scheduled in June from Lake Moomaw due to heavy rainfall in the region, which led to water flows well above average this spring.

Remaining pulse dates in 2020 are set for the following Wednesdays:

Aug. 12
Sept. 2
Sept. 23
Oct. 14

Dates are subject to change based on weather conditions and rainfall. For 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.