Corps of Engineer History
Throughout history, water has played a dominant role in shaping the destinies of nations and entire civilizations. The early settlement and development of our country occurred along our coasts and water courses. The management or our land and water resources was the catalyst which enabled us to progress from a basically rural and agrarian economy to the urban and industrialized nation we are today. The Army was formed in June 14, 1775. Two days later, General George Washington appointed the first Engineer. Ever since then, the Army Engineers have proudly answered the call to duty – in peace and war.
Since the General Survey Act of 1824, the US Army Corps of Engineers has played a vital role in the development and management of our national water resources. The Corps of Engineers has planned and executed major national programs for navigation, flood control, water supply, hydroelectric power, recreation and water conservation.
Beaver Dam is located in the Northwest corner of Arkansas on the White River at mile 609, in Benton, Washington, Carroll, and Madison counties. The watershed basin for Beaver Lake covers 1186 miles (759,040 acres) and there are 449 miles of shoreline at the top of the conservation pool (1120’ m.s.l).
Beaver Lake was included in the comprehensive plan for flood control and other purposes in the White River Basin by the Flood Control Act of 1954. Construction began in 1960 and was completed in 1966. Total cost was $6,200,000.00. This cost was amortized over a 50-year period, at an interest rate of payments to be accomplished annually from project revenue, which is derived primarily from hydropower sales. The Southwestern Power Administration (SPA), Department of Energy markets the power produced and accomplishes the business of disbursements for overhead, which includes SPA O&M expenses and construction cost repayment, net revenue is then tendered to the U.S. Treasury general fund.
Beaver Lake is one of five multi-purpose projects constructed in the White River Basin for the control of floods, generation of hydroelectric power, public water supply, and recreation. Beaver Lake is the first dam on the White River to provide a cold water fishery in the tail water.
The blaring sounds of the warning horns at Beaver Dam signal that hydroelectric power is about to begin. Power generation at Beaver Lake is performed on an as-needed basis. The higher the demand for electricity, the more often generation occurs. Peak times are generally in the early morning during winter months and mid-afternoons during summer. Be aware of suddenly rising waters and other hazardous water conditions below the dam and listen for the warning horns. Observe warning signs and stay out of restricted areas. Generations schedules can be found at swpa.gov/generationschedules.aspx.