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Center Hill Dam to change hydropower ramp up rates

Nashville District
Published June 20, 2024

LANCASTER, Tenn. (June 20, 2024) The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District is announcing important changes to the hydropower ramp up rates at Center Hill Dam. These updates, which go into effect June 30th, are part of the new Water Control Manual.

The ramp up rate refers to the gradual increase in the number of turbines brought online over a specific period during the startup process of a hydropower facility. The more hydropower turbines running, the more power generated, and the more water being released downstream.

Historically, the ramp up rates for the three hydropower turbines at Center Hill Dam were:

  • 1 unit in the first hour
  • 1 unit in the second hour (2 units total)
  • 1 unit in the third hour (3 units total)

With the new WCM update, the ramp up rates have been adjusted to:

  • 1 unit in the first hour
  • The remaining 2 units coming online in the second hour

“This change means that the tailwater elevation will rise more quickly during the second hour, creating potentially hazardous river conditions downstream for waders and paddlers,” said Kevin Salvilla, Center Hill Lake Resource Manager. “It is crucial for all visitors to be aware of the new ramp up rates and to plan their activities accordingly.”

Public information sessions are planned to inform the public of the proposed changes and signage will be posted to help mitigate risk. Additionally, all visitors are encouraged to check the hydropower generation schedule before heading out. The updated schedules can be found on the Nashville District Water Management page at On this page, visitors can find the Center Hill generation schedule and check the date for their planned outing. The schedule is organized with the hour of the day in the left column.

  • When "0" is shown, no generation is scheduled
  • When "50" is shown, one unit is scheduled
  • When "100" is shown, two units are scheduled
  • When "150" is shown, all three hydropower units are scheduled

If the schedule shows "50" in the first hour and "150" in the second hour, the new ramp up rate will be in effect, raising the tailwater elevation more quickly and potentially creating hazardous conditions.

Visitors are encouraged to have a plan in place to remain safe. Wear an approved life jacket when boating or fishing, swim in safe or designated areas only, and be mindful that conditions could change quickly.

The WCM is the guiding document that specifies how the Corps of Engineers operates The Center Hill Dam and Reservoir. Each reservoir has congressionally mandated purposes, and this manual is what the Corps uses to balance those purposes. The most critical section is the water control plan, which outlines the operational plan to meet all the reservoir's congressionally mandated purposes. The Center Hill Dam and Reservoir WCM was updated to capture changes in the Cumberland basin over the last 20 years and to establish a new environmental and operational baseline following the completion of major structural repairs to the dam.

The public can obtain news, updates and information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District on the district’s website at, on Facebook at and on Twitter at Follow us on LinkedIn for the latest Nashville District employment and contracting opportunities at

Public Affairs Office
110 9th Avenue South, Nashville, TN

Release no. 24-098

Chick Lock

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