Wheeler Dam (Wheeler Lake)

Field Descriptions

Dam Name: Wheeler
NID ID: AL07701
Longitude: -87.38167
Latitude: 34.79833
State: AL
Nearest City: Florence
Distance: 16.00 miles
Owner Name: TVA
Owner Type: Federal
Dam Designer: DOI BR;TVA
Private Dam? No
Core: Homogeneous Dam (Position)
Concrete (Type)
Known (Certainty)
Foundation: RK
Purposes: Flood Control
Year Completed: 1936
Year Modified/Mod Type: 1982
Dam Length: 6342 feet
Dam Height: 70 feet
Structural Height: 72 feet
Hydraulic Height: 68 feet
Maximum Discharge: 777000 cu ft/sec
Maximum Storage: 1358355 acre-feet
Normal Storage: 1049007 acre-feet
Surface Area: 67070 acres
Drainage Area: 29590 square miles
Hazard Potential: High
Emergency Action Plan? Yes
Inspection Date: 2009-05-14
Inspection Frequency: 5
State Regulated Dam? No
Spillway Type: Controlled
Spillway Width: 2400 feet
Outlet Gates: T
Volume of Dam: 1150600 cubic yards
Number of Locks: 2
Length of Locks: 600 feet
Lock Width: 110 feet
Federal Funding Agency: WHEELER LAKE
Federal Design Agency:
Federal Construction Agency:
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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