LAKE GUNTERSVILLE ALABAMA

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© Connie Campbell
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GUNTERSVILLE DAM, which forms LAKE GUNTERSVILLE, is located about 7 miles northwest of the town of Guntersville, Alabama in the Sequatchie Valley Province. TVA began construction of the dam in December 1935 and it was completed in January 1939. John Gunter, an early settler of the area lends his name first to the city of Guntersville, and then to this dam, built so close by. The dam sits 349 river miles from the mouth of the Tennessee River.

The Guntersville Lake watershed encompasses 2,669 square miles and the lake itself covers 67,900 acres making it the second largest of all TVA operated projects (Kentucky Reservoir is first with 160,300 surface acres). The shoreline covers 949 miles. Most of the flow into Guntersville Lake is released from Nikcajack Dam in Tennessee (approximately 37,200 cubic feet per second cfs), with an additional 4,600 cfs generated by tributaries into the reservoir. The reservoir stretches for 76 miles in length. (TVA-Guntersville)

Guntersville Lake has many public use areas including 2 state parks, 13 city or county parks, 4 state wildlife centers, 8 campgrounds, 5 camping resorts, 16 marinas, 43 boat ramps, 30 public access areas, and 23 commercial recreation areas.

In 2001, TVA owned and managed 40,236 acres of land on the reservoir.

The Lake has an average depth of only 15 feet and a maximum depth of 60 feet. The reservoir is sometimes characterized as a “run of the river” operation because it has an average retention time of only 12-13 days, and a small winter drawdown of only 2 to 3 feet. (TVA-Guntersville)



WHEELER LOCK AND DAM, which forms WHEELER LAKE, is located approximately 15 miles east of Wilson Dam. Wheeler Dam was the very first project taken on by the Tennessee Valley Authority just six months after Franklin D Roosevelt created the organization in 1933. Wheeler was a pivotal dam in inundating the Muscle Shoals, a major hindrance to navigational travel on the Middle Tennessee.

The dam was named after General Joseph Wheeler, also known as “Fighting Joe Wheeler,” who was a Confederate General during the Civil War. Wheeler’s home was located about 17 miles from the present dam site. Wheeler became an Alabama congressman and in 1898 wrote the first bill providing for the development of Muscle Shoals for navigation as well as hydropower. Though the project didn’t materialize, this bill was the first of many that led to the formation of the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Begun in January of 1933, Wheeler Dam was completed in 1936. It was the first of eight dams that TVA constructed on the Tennessee River. The lake covers 67,100 acres and creates a shoreline of 1,063 miles. TVA originally purchased 103,400 acres of land that may have been damaged as a result of the formation of the reservoir. Most of this land was inundated by the reservoir itself. Of that acreage remaining, these areas were either transferred to other agencies, managed for industrial development, leased for agriculture, or s

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