Alabama Water Science Center
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Estimation of Long-term Reservoir Sedimentation in Lake Tuscaloosa, Tuscaloosa County, Alabama
Cooperator: City of Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Lake Tuscaloosa was constructed in 1969 on North River in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama. The lake serves as the water supply for Tuscaloosa, Northport, and other communities in Tuscaloosa County and is also a major recreational attraction for west Alabama. Land uses in the North River watershed include mining, forest harvesting, agriculture, urban residential, and suburban residential. In the past, the effect of mining operations on water quality and sedimentation in Lake Tuscaloosa was a major concern. While the mining issues are still a concern, sediment yield caused by other fast-changing land uses, including shoreline and near shoreline development, has also raised concern. The objective of this project is to advance the understanding of how suspended-sediment loads are affected by hydrologic processes and land use and to furnish data and information that contributes to the protection of a major water supply reservoir and ecosystem.
The North River watershed upstream of the dam on Lake Tuscaloosa is approximately 417 square miles. For reference, this area is upstream of USGS Gage 02464800. Nine major tributaries discharge to Lake Tuscaloosa: North River, Dry Creek, Turkey Creek, Binion Creek, Tierce Creek, Carroll Creek, Hamner Creek, Pole Bridge Creek and Brush Creek. This study will focus on the sediment delivery from eight of the nine major tributaries. Approximately 78 percent of the watershed will be represented by the sediment sampling. Continuous discharge measurement and sediment sampling will begin in October 2008 and conclude in September 2011. Sediment rating curves and hydrological models will be linked to provide predictive capability for estimating long-term suspended-sediment loads to Lake Tuscaloosa.