Watts Bar Lake

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Watts Bar Lake
Watts bar lake.jpg
View from just north of TVA Watts Bar in Decatur, Tennessee
Location Meigs / Rhea / Roane / Loudon counties, Tennessee, USA
Coordinates 35°37′15″N84°46′54″W / 35.62083°N 84.78167°W / 35.62083; -84.78167 (Watts Bar Lake) Coordinates: 35°37′15″N84°46′54″W / 35.62083°N 84.78167°W / 35.62083; -84.78167 (Watts Bar Lake)
Type reservoir
Primary inflows Tennessee River, Clinch River, Emory River
Primary outflows Tennessee River
Basin  countriesUnited States
Max. length72.4 mi (117 km)
Surface area39,000 acres (16,000 ha)
Max. depth108 ft (33 m)
Surface elevation741 feet (226 m)
Map all coordinates using: OpenStreetMap  
Download coordinates as: KML  ·  GPX

Watts Bar Lake is a reservoir on the Tennessee river created by Watts Bar Dam as part of the Tennessee Valley Authority system.

Reservoir A storage space for fluids

A reservoir is, most commonly, an enlarged natural or artificial lake, pond or impoundment created using a dam or lock to store water.

Watts Bar Dam

Watts Bar Dam is a hydroelectric dam on the Tennessee River in Meigs and Rhea counties in Tennessee, United States. The dam is one of nine dams on the main Tennessee River channel operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority, which built the dam in the early 1940s to provide flood control and electricity and to help create a continuous navigable channel along the entire length of the river. The dam is the technical boundary between the 39,090-acre (15,820 ha) Watts Bar Lake— which it impounds— and Chickamauga Lake, which stretches from the dam's tailwaters southward to Chattanooga.

Tennessee Valley Authority American utility company

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is a federally owned corporation in the United States created by congressional charter on May 18, 1933, to provide navigation, flood control, electricity generation, fertilizer manufacturing, and economic development to the Tennessee Valley, a region particularly affected by the Great Depression. The enterprise was a result of the efforts of Senator George W. Norris of Nebraska. TVA was envisioned not only as a provider, but also as a regional economic development agency that would use federal experts and electricity to more quickly modernize the region's economy and society.



Located about midway between Chattanooga and Knoxville, the lake begins as the Tennessee River below Fort Loudon Dam ( 35°47′30″N84°14′34″W / 35.79167°N 84.24278°W / 35.79167; -84.24278 (Fort Loudon Dam) ) in Lenoir City, Tennessee and stretches 72.4 miles (116.5 km) to Watts Bar Dam ( 35°37′15″N84°46′55″W / 35.62083°N 84.78194°W / 35.62083; -84.78194 (Watts Bar Dam) ), near Spring City, Tennessee. The Clinch River connects to the main channel of the lake at mile 568 ( 35°51′50″N84°31′50″W / 35.86389°N 84.53056°W / 35.86389; -84.53056 (Clinch River mouth) ) near Southwest Point (site of Andrew Jackson and John Sevier's 1803 confrontation [1] ) in Kingston, Tennessee. The widening of the Clinch by the lake makes that river navigable all the way up to Melton Hill Dam ( 35°53′5″N84°18′0″W / 35.88472°N 84.30000°W / 35.88472; -84.30000 (Melton Hill Dam) ), which is equipped with a navigation lock allowing navigation upstream through Oak Ridge and Clinton. The partially navigable Emory River connects with the Clinch near the TVA's Kingston Steam Plant just upriver from the meeting with the Tennessee. Including the Clinch and Emory arms, Watts Bar has 722 miles (1,160 km) of shoreline and over 39,000 acres (160 km²) of water surface. Minor tributaries include Poplar Creek, Caney Creek, and White's Creek. The lake contains several large islands, most notably Thief Neck Island, Long Island, and Sand Island.

Chattanooga, Tennessee City in Tennessee, United States

Chattanooga is a city located in Hamilton County, southeastern Tennessee, along the Tennessee River bordering Georgia. With an estimated population of 179,139 in 2017, it is the fourth-largest city in Tennessee and one of the two principal cities of East Tennessee, along with Knoxville. Served by multiple railroads and Interstate highways, Chattanooga is a transit hub. Chattanooga lies 118 miles (190 km) northwest of Atlanta, Georgia, 112 miles (180 km) southwest of Knoxville, Tennessee, 134 miles (216 km) southeast of Nashville, Tennessee, 102 miles (164 km) east-northeast of Huntsville, Alabama, and 147 miles (237 km) northeast of Birmingham, Alabama.

Knoxville, Tennessee City in Tennessee, United States

Knoxville is a city in the U.S. state of Tennessee, and the county seat of Knox County. The city had an estimated population of 186,239 in 2016 and a population of 178,874 as of the 2010 census, making it the state's third largest city after Nashville and Memphis. Knoxville is the principal city of the Knoxville Metropolitan Statistical Area, which, in 2016, was 868,546, up 0.9 percent, or 7,377 people, from to 2015. The KMSA is, in turn, the central component of the Knoxville-Sevierville-La Follette Combined Statistical Area, which, in 2013, had a population of 1,096,961.

Lenoir City, Tennessee City in Tennessee, United States

Lenoir City is a city in Loudon County, Tennessee, United States. The population was 6,418 at the 2000 census and the population rose to 8,642 as of 2010. It is included in the Knoxville Metropolitan Area in the state's eastern region, along the Tennessee River southwest of Knoxville. Fort Loudoun Dam is nearby.


Watts Bar Lake was affected by the 2008 Kingston Fossil Plant coal fly ash slurry spill.

Kingston Fossil Plant coal fly ash slurry spill 2008 environmental disaster in Roane County, Tennessee

The TVA Kingston Fossil Plant coal fly ash slurry spill occurred just before 1 a.m. on Monday December 22, 2008, when an ash dike ruptured at an 84-acre (0.34 km2) solid waste containment area at the Tennessee Valley Authority's Kingston Fossil Plant in Roane County, Tennessee, releasing 1.1 billion US gallons (4,200,000 m3) of coal fly ash slurry. The coal-fired power plant, located across the Clinch River from the city of Kingston, uses ponds to dewater the fly ash, a byproduct of coal combustion, which is then stored in wet form in dredge cells. The slurry traveled across the Emory River and its Swan Pond embayment, on to the opposite shore, covering up to 300 acres (1.2 km2) of the surrounding land, damaging homes and flowing up and down stream in nearby waterways such as the Emory River and Clinch River. It was the largest fly ash release in United States history.


Watts Bar's sport fishing ratings for crappie, black crappie, largemouth bass, and spotted bass are at or near the top in the TVA system. [2] (The state of Tennessee advises against eating fish caught in certain areas of the lake due to PCB contamination.) [3] The area also provides many opportunities for birdwatching, with an extremely large population of great blue herons, over 120 nesting pairs of osprey, and a few bald eagles living on or near the lake. [4] Several parks and camps are located on the lake, including the John Knox Center [5] and the Boy Scout facility Camp Buck Toms. [6]

Crappie genus of fishes

Crappies are a genus, Pomoxis, of North American fresh water fish in the sunfish family Centrarchidae. Both species in this genus are popular pan fish.

Black crappie species of fish

The black crappie is a freshwater fish found in North America, one of the two crappies. It is very similar to the white crappie in size, shape, and habits, except that it is darker, with a pattern of black spots.

Largemouth bass species of fish

The largemouth bass is a carnivorous freshwater gamefish in the Centrarchidae (sunfish) family, a species of black bass native to much of the United States And Northern Mexico. It is known by a variety of regional names, such as the widemouth bass, bigmouth bass, black bass, bucketmouth, largies, Potter's fish, Florida bass, Florida largemouth, green bass, Green trout, gilsdorf bass, Oswego bass, southern largemouth and (paradoxically) northern largemouth, LMB. The largemouth bass is the state fish of Georgia, Mississippi, and Indiana, the state freshwater fish of Florida and Alabama, and the state sport fish of Tennessee.


Geographic Names Information System geographical database

The Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) is a database that contains name and locative information about more than two million physical and cultural features located throughout the United States of America and its territories. It is a type of gazetteer. GNIS was developed by the United States Geological Survey in cooperation with the United States Board on Geographic Names (BGN) to promote the standardization of feature names.

United States Geological Survey Scientific agency of the United States government

The United States Geological Survey is a scientific agency of the United States government. The scientists of the USGS study the landscape of the United States, its natural resources, and the natural hazards that threaten it. The organization has four major science disciplines, concerning biology, geography, geology, and hydrology. The USGS is a fact-finding research organization with no regulatory responsibility.

Related Research Articles

Roane County, Tennessee County in the United States

Roane County is a county of the U.S. state of Tennessee. As of the 2010 census, the population was 54,181. Its county seat is Kingston.

Loudon County, Tennessee County in the United States

Loudon County is a county located in the U.S. state of Tennessee. As of the 2010 census, the population was 48,556. Its county seat is Loudon.

Spring City, Tennessee Town in Tennessee, United States

Spring City is a town in Rhea County, Tennessee, United States. The population was 2,025 at the 2000 census and 1,981 at the 2010 census. The town is located along Watts Bar Lake, and Watts Bar Dam and the Watts Bar Nuclear Generating Station are nearby.

Tennessee River river in the United States, its largest city is Knoxville, TN

The Tennessee River is the largest tributary of the Ohio River. It is approximately 652 miles (1,049 km) long and is located in the southeastern United States in the Tennessee Valley. The river was once popularly known as the Cherokee River, among other names, as many of the Cherokee had their territory along its banks, especially in eastern Tennessee and northern Alabama. Its current name is derived from the Cherokee village Tanasi.

Clinch River river in the United States of America

The Clinch River rises near Tazewell, Virginia, and flows southwest for more than 300 miles (480 km) through the Great Appalachian Valley, gathering various tributaries, including the Powell River, before joining the Tennessee River in Kingston, Tennessee.

Norris Dam dam

Norris Dam is a hydroelectric and flood control structure located on the Clinch River in Anderson County and Campbell County, Tennessee, United States. Its construction in the mid-1930s was the first major project for the Tennessee Valley Authority, which had been created in 1933 to bring economic development to the region and control the rampant flooding that had long plagued the Tennessee Valley. The dam was named in honor of Nebraska Senator George Norris (1861–1944), a longtime supporter of government-owned power in general, and supporter of TVA in particular. The project infrastructure was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2016.

Ten Mile, Tennessee human settlement in Tennessee, United States of America

Ten Mile is an unincorporated community in northern Meigs and southeastern Roane counties in the U.S. state of Tennessee.

Fort Loudoun Dam

Fort Loudoun Dam is a hydroelectric dam on the Tennessee River in Loudon County, Tennessee, in the southeastern United States. The dam is operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), which built the dam in the early 1940s as part of a unified plan to provide electricity and flood control in the Tennessee Valley and create a continuous 652-mile (1,049 km) navigable river channel from Knoxville, Tennessee to Paducah, Kentucky. It is the uppermost of nine TVA dams on the Tennessee River.

Melton Hill Dam

Melton Hill Dam is a hydroelectric dam on the Clinch River just south of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, United States. The dam is operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority, which built the dam in the early 1960s to extend the Tennessee Valley's continuous navigation channel up the Clinch as far as Clinton and to increase TVA's overall power-generating capacity. The dam impounds the 5,470-acre (2,210 ha) Melton Hill Lake, and is the only TVA tributary dam serviced by a navigation lock. The dam and associated infrastructure were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2017.

State Route 58 , also locally called "Highway 58", is a north–south state highway in the U.S. state of Tennessee that serves as a major route for many communities in Roane, Meigs, and Hamilton counties.

Big Ridge State Park

Big Ridge State Park is a state park in Union County, Tennessee, in the southeastern United States. The park consists of 3,687 acres (14.92 km2) on the southern shore of the Norris Reservoir, an impoundment of the Clinch River created by the completion of Norris Dam in 1936. Much of the park's recreational focus is on Big Ridge Lake, a 45-acre (0.18 km2) sub-impoundment of Norris near the center of the park.

Rhea Springs, Tennessee Community once located along the Piney River in Rhea County, Tennessee

Rhea Springs was a community once located along the Piney River in Rhea County, Tennessee, in the southeastern United States. Originally established in the 19th century as a health resort, the community was inundated when the completion of Watts Bar Dam by the Tennessee Valley Authority flooded the lower Piney Valley in 1942.

Unitia is an Unincorporated community of Loudon County, Tennessee. Historically it was a crossroads village, the site of a post office, and a stop on the Underground Railroad. The historical center of the community was flooded in the 1940s by the filling of the reservoir behind Fort Loudoun Dam.

Norris Lake (Tennessee)

Norris Lake is a reservoir that is located in Anderson, Campbell, Claiborne, Grainger, and Union Counties in Tennessee. The lake was created by the Norris Dam at the Cove Creek Site on the Clinch River in 1936 by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) for flood control, water storage, and hydroelectric power. Norris Dam and its reservoir were the first major project taken on by the TVA. The lake, the dam, and the town of Norris, Tennessee are named for George W Norris, who was a U.S. Senator from Nebraska and who wrote the legislation that created the TVA.