About Smith Lake – More than 10 Astounding Facts

Smith Lake

 Lewis Smith Lake (or Smith Lake) is located in North-Central Alabama about 20 miles northwest of Birmingham in state of Alabama (U.S.) and counties of Cullman, Walker and Winston. The 300-foot high dam, completed in 1961 by Alabama Power Company, impounds the Sipsey Fork of the Black Warrior River to form the lake.  Lewis Smith Lake has a surface area of 21,200 acres, more than 500 miles of shoreline, a watershed area of 944 square miles, a retention time of 435 days, and a maximum depth of 264 feet. The western side of the lake’s watershed is crowned by the 180,000-acre Bankhead National Forest, which blankets the deeply dissected southern edge of the Cumberland Plateau. The Sipsey Fork of the Black Warrior River, Alabama’s only Wild and Scenic River, flows through the Bankhead National Forest. The Sipsey Wilderness, Land of a Thousand Waterfalls, lies within the Bankhead National Forest and is home to Alabama’s largest tree, a tulip poplar with a 21-foot circumference at its base. Lake Homes for Sale Smith Lake Alabama

 One of the largest earth- and rock-filled dams in the Eastern United States, the Lewis Smith Dam was constructed at the Sipsey Fork tributary. It was named in honor of Lewis Martin Smith, who was president of Alabama Power from 1952 to 1957. Smith Dam was the first of three Alabama Power Company projects on the Black Warrior river. In 1965, FERC authorized Alabama Power to build a powerhouse at Holt Lock and Dam. Both Bankhead Lock and Dam and Holt Lock and Dam are owned by the Corps of Engineers, U.S. Army.

 The story of Smith Dam and Lewis Smith Lake began as a story of energy. It continues today as a story of flood control, recreation and economic opportunity, irrigation and drinking water, and fish and wildlife habitats. Power was just the beginning.

Lewis Smith Lake Reservoir Facts:

Elevation above sea level: 510 feet Area: 21,200 acres Shoreline: 642 miles Length: 35 miles Maximum depth at dam: 264 feet Area of watershed draining into reservoir: 944 square miles Lake Homes for Sale Smith Lake
                                                                                                                                         Smith Lake Dam

Hazardous Zones

  1. Swirling water and strong underwater currents at powerhouse intakes.
  2. Turbulent discharges from automatically operated turbines.
  3. Slippery surfaces on shoreline.
  4. Submerged hazards and rapidly rising waters from turbine or spillway discharge.

Smith Dam Facts:

In service: 09/05/1961

Capacity: Two generators, rating 78,750 kilowatts each Type: Rock-fill Length: 2,200 feet Maximum height: 300 feet
Hydro Relicensing
Alabama Power’s operating licenses for its projects are issued for a period ranging from 30-50 years and must be renewed for the company to continue operating its existing hydroelectric developments. For more information, please click Alabama Power.
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