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Pickwick Reservoir

Pickwick Landing Reservoir Drawdown for Seismic Study

TVA has decided to draw down Pickwick Landing Reservoir to winter pool level at an accelerated rate to support further evaluation of the integrity of Pickwick Landing Dam and enhance safety.

image of dam

  • During a recent seismic stability assessment of Pickwick Landing dam, the factor of safety during a large earthquake for the south embankment dam (earthen section south of the concrete section) was determined to be unacceptable based on current TVA and industry standards.
  • Conditions at the dam have not changed, however in the remote chance that a large seismic event occurs along the New Madrid Fault in West Tennessee, it could damage the earthen embankment dam.  Such a seismic event would be considered a major earthquake capable of widespread damage.
  • We continue to analyze the data and develop our path forward to address this risk. By lowering the reservoir upstream of the dam to winter pool levels in the interim, the potential damage to the public downstream of Pickwick from a large seismic event will be reduced.
  • TVA is working with emergency management agencies to coordinate public safety in the event of an earthquake.
  • The concrete portion of the dam will be evaluated in FY15, but no concrete dam in the U.S. has failed in a seismic event.
  • We have a long history of operating our dams across the Valley, and they have performed well.

Dam Information

Photo of sailboats at dock on Pickwick Reservoir

Pickwick Reservoir is located in southwest Tennessee. It extends 53 miles south from the dam along the Mississippi-Alabama state line and then east into Alabama. The dam was completed in 1938, and the first two of its six hydroelectric generating units began operation the same year.

Pickwick Landing Dam is a significant producer of hydroelectric power. It provides a flat pool of water that extends eastward to Wilson Dam in Alabama and covers a portion of the treacherous Muscle Shoals, which once hampered navigation on the Tennessee River.

Pickwick Reservoir has excellent sport-fishing areas, including the Wilson Dam tailwater at the upper end of the reservoir, noted for record-size smallmouth bass and catfish.

Pickwick is also popular for boating and water skiing. A large campground is located below the dam and includes 92 sites with water and electric (5 are accessible sites) and 8 tent sites without utilities.

More on Pickwick Reservoir

Operating guide

Daily reservoir operation information

Sportfish survey results

Sportfish ratings

Ecological health ratings

Tailwater improvements

Recreation facilities


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