US Army Corps of Engineers
Little Rock District

White River Minimum Flows

White River Minimum FlowsLocation and Description: Bull Shoals Lake, located in the upper White River Basin, is a multipurpose lake constructed for flood control and hydropower generation. Construction of the Bull Shoals Dam was started in 1947 and completed in 1951. The Dam is located seven miles north of Cotter, Arkansas. There is 6,036 square miles of drainage area above the dam. The powerhouse and switchyard were completed in 1953, with commercial generation having begun in 1952. With installation of the final two generating units, bringing the total to eight generating units, in 1963, construction was completed at a cost of about $86 million. The lands and water of Bull Shoals Lake offer a variety of recreational experiences including boating, fishing, camping, picknicking, swimming, water skiing, wildlife observing, hunting, and scuba diving.

Section 132(a) of the FY06 EWDAA authorizes and directs the implementation of plan BS-3 at Bull Shoals for minimum flows. Plan BS-3 reallocates 5 feet of flood control storage at Bull Shoals Lake for the minimum flows release of 800 cfs. This target flow of 800 cfs will consist of 590 cfs of minimum flow releases through one of the main hydropower turbines, as well as 50 cfs of existing releases through the house hydropower Station Service Unit and existing flows of 160 cfs from normal leakage through the closed wicket gates. The top of the conservation pool elevation will be raised by 5 feet from 654.0 to 659.0; and the top of the seasonal pool held from May to July for water temperature releases will be raised by 5 feet from 657.0 to 662.0. The top of the flood control pool will remain at the existing elevation of 695.0.

Norfork Lake, located in the upper White River Basin, is a multipurpose lake constructed for flood control and hydropower generation. Construction of the Norfork Dam was started in 1941 and completed three years later, while construction of the powerhouse and switchyard were completed in 1949. The Dam is located four miles northeast of Norfork, Arkansas. There is 1,806 square miles of drainage area above the dam. There are two generating units at Norfork Lake that began commercial generation in 1944. Construction of the dam and powerhouse was approximately $28.6 million. The lands and water of Norfork Lake also offer a variety of recreational experieinces including boating, fishing, camping, picknicking, swimming, water skiing, wildlife observing, and hunting. A detailed map of Norfork Lake is located in Appendix F.

Section 132(a) of the FY06 EWDAA authorizes and directs the implementation of plan NF-7 at Norfork Lake for minimum flows. Plan NF-7 reallocates 3.5 feet of storage at Norfork Lake to be evenly divided (50:50) between the conservation and flood control pools to provide for the minimum flows release of 300 cfs. This target flow of 300 cfs will consist of 185 cfs of minimum flow releases through a new siphon system, as well as 20 cfs of existing releases through the house hydropower Station Service Unit, 40 cfs of existing releases for the downstream trout hatchery, and existing flows of 55 cfs from normal leakage through the closed wicket gates. The top of the conservation pool elevation will be raised by 1.75 feet to from 552.0 to 553.75; and the top of the seasonal pool held from May to July for water temperature releases will be raised by 1.75 feet from 555.0 to 556.75.0. The top of the flood control pool will remain at the existing elevation of 580.0.

 
The White River Minimum Flows project will provide adequate trout habitat in the White River downstream of Norfork and Bull Shoals Dams. The dams were not originally designed to make the smaller releases needed to increase the wetted perimeter and dissolved oxygen levels.

 
Construction Status: The federally-funded work at the Norfork Dam includes the construction of a bulkhead and siphon. Construction of the bulkhead and siphon is continuing, and is scheduled for completion in December 2012, with storage being captured beginning in January 2013. The federal portion of the work at Bull Shoals Lake involves modifications to the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition system, which will allow minimum flow releases. The work at Bull Shoals is scheduled to be completed by May 2013, with storage being captured beginning in June 2013. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission are responsible for lakeside facility modifications/relocations.