site is at river mile 460.9 or about 10 miles
southwest of Jamestown, Kentucky.
southwest of Jamestown, Kentucky. The Wolf Creek
Project was authorized by the Flood Control Act
of 1938 and the Rivers and Harbor Act of 1946.
Construction of the project, designed and
supervised by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,
began in August 1941. After a three-year delay
caused by World War II, the project was
completed for full beneficial use in August
The dam was completed for flood control
operation in 1951 and the remaining three in
1952. Operation of the lake is for the primary
purposes of flood control and the production of
hydroelectric power. The cost of the project was
approximately $80.4 million.
The dam, powerhouse, and lake are operated and
supervised by Corps of Engineers personnel under
the direction of the District Engineer at
The reservoir is 101 miles long in length and
has 1,255 miles of shoreline, providing a total
storage capacity of 6,089,000 acre-feet (1
acre-foot = 1 acre, 1 foot deep or 325,850
gallons). The upper portion of the reservoir
containing 2,094,000 acre-feet of area, is used
to hold floodwaters which would otherwise cause
flooding downstream. Such impounded water is
utilized to the maximum extent possible for
power production and the surplus water is
released through the spillway gates after any
flood danger had passed.
Of the remaining 3,995,000 acre-feet of
reservoir capacity, 2,142,000 acre-feet,
corresponding to a drawdown of 50 feet, is
allocated specifically for power operation,
leaving a minimum pool of at least 1,853,000
acre-feet available at all times for public use
and conservation purposes. The electrical energy
produced by the project is sufficient to supply
the needs of an average city with a population
of 375,000. Incidental to the production of
power, the water released through the turbines
provides a favorable stream flow below the dam.
In supplementing low flows, this water improves
domestic water supply, reduces stream pollution
and provides aid to navigation.
The reservoir normally fluctuates between 50,250
acres at the top of the power pool and a minimum
surface area of 35,820 acres. During periods of
high inflow, when it is necessary to utilize the
floor storage, the surface area may reach 63,530
acres. However, such floods occur infrequently,
and the levels resulting from minor floods and
power operations do not seriously interfere with
most recreational activities.
Learn more about the history of Lake Cumberland