Burnsville Lake

Huntington District
Published Jan. 10, 2024

Burnsville Dam is located in Braxton County on the Little Kanawha River, 124 miles above its confluence with the Ohio River and approximately 3 miles above the Town of Burnsville, West Virginia.

It was developed to reduce flooding on the Little Kanawha River, which runs 167 miles and drains an area of 2,320 square miles, and is a unit in the Corps' Ohio River Basin Flood Reduction System.

Under normal conditions, precipitation runoff caught by the lake is simply passed through the dam by adjusting gate openings. Following a significant storm, water is held back to reduce flooding downstream. After the danger of flooding has passed, excess storage is released as rapidly as possible.

The dam was authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1938. Construction began in 1972, and the dam became operational for flood control in December 1978.

The dam is a combination of earthen fill and concrete structures that is 90 feet high and 1,400 feet long. The earthen fill section has an impervious clay core. The concrete section contains the spillway and outlet works.

The summer pool elevation is maintained from April through October. Lowering of the pool by 13 feet, to provide additional flood storage, begins in early November and continues until winter pool elevation is reached. This winter pool elevation is maintained through March each year.