Wilson Dam (Wilson Lake)

Field Descriptions

Dam Name: Wilson
NID ID: AL07702
Longitude: -87.625
Latitude: 34.795
State: AL
Nearest City: Florence
Distance: 1.00 miles
Owner Name: TVA
Owner Type: Federal
Dam Designer: COE; TVA
Private Dam? No
Core: Homogeneous Dam (Position)
Concrete (Type)
Known (Certainty)
Foundation: RK
Purposes: Flood Control
Year Completed: 1924
Year Modified/Mod Type: 1942 S; 1956 S; 1962 M 1964 M; 1968 M
Dam Length: 4541 feet
Dam Height: 113 feet
Structural Height: 137 feet
Hydraulic Height: 103 feet
Maximum Discharge: 893000 cu ft/sec
Maximum Storage: 674220 acre-feet
Normal Storage: 636543 acre-feet
Surface Area: 15600 acres
Drainage Area: 30750 square miles
Hazard Potential: High
Emergency Action Plan? Yes
Inspection Date: 2008-05-22
Inspection Frequency: 5
State Regulated Dam? No
Spillway Type: Controlled
Spillway Width: 1862 feet
Outlet Gates: L
Volume of Dam: 1328800 cubic yards
Number of Locks: 2
Length of Locks: 600 feet
Lock Width: 110 feet
Federal Funding Agency: WILSON LAKE
Federal Regulatory Agency: Tennessee Valley Authority
Federal Inspection Agency: Tennessee Valley Authority
Federal Operating Agency: Tennessee Valley Authority
Federal Owner (Agency): Tennessee Valley Authority
Source Agency: Tennessee Valley Authority

Dam Safety For Boats

A large amount of water can be released from a dam without any warning at any time and by any means. For example, when the demand for electricity is high, the turbines at a dam may be turned on automatically, resulting in a significant increase in the downstream flow of water in only a matter of seconds.

If there's a need to release water through the sluiceways (outlets at the base of the dam), this operation can also create a great swell of discharged water downstream.

During flood operations, any or all spillway gates across the width of a dam can be opened to release upstream flood water that needs to pass to the next downstream reservoir. Upstream or downstream, even the most experienced boater with the strongest motor is no match for this strong flow of water plunging over a spillway of a dam. Even if you're boating far downstream of a spilling dam, recirculating current can pull a powerful boat upstream toward plunging water that could shred any boat.

Some dams equipped with navigation locks create turbulent water as well. When vessels pass through, strong flow is released near the exhaust ports of the wing wall of the lock.

Warning Systems At Dams

To warn reservoir users of potential danger, warning devices are installed at many dams:

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