US Army Corps of Engineers
Institute for Water Resources

Twelve Pole Creek, West Virginia

Balancing existing authorized project purposes and environmental flows

East Lynn Dam and Reservoir is located on the East Fork of Twelve Pole Creek in Wayne County, West Virginia. With the East and West Forks of Twelve Pole Creek listed as impaired for biological criteria, an evaluation of operational and environmental flows can determine whether operational changes can improve how to best serve project purposes and improve biological criteria. 

Twelve Pole Creek

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East Lynn Lake is a reservoir located on the East Fork of Twelve Pole Creek (EFTC) in Wayne County, West Virginia. The USACE impounded the EFTC in 1971 under the authority of the Flood Control Act of 1962 for the purposes of flood control, recreation, fish and wildlife conservation, low flow augmentation, and water quality. The dam is equipped with a selective withdrawal intake system that allows for water withdrawal from any combination of high-level intakes and bottom sluice gates (USACE, 2001). Therefore, it is possible, depending on flow conditions, to regulate both quality and quantity of water passing through the dam. East Lynn Lake covers approximately 1,005 acres (1.57 sq mi) at summer pool, which equates to about 12.7 stream miles of backwater and 17,200 gross acre-feet of storage (USACE, 2001). The major inputs to East Lynn Lake are East Fork of Twelve Pole Creek, Kiah Creek, and Lick Creek with several small tributaries providing minimal direct surface water input. The EFTC joins with the West Fork of Twelve Pole Creek (WFTC) near Wayne, West Virginia to form Twelve Pole Creek. Twelve Pole Creek drains approximately 442 square miles (USGS, 2013) before eventually joining the Ohio River near Ceredo, West Virginia . Other major inputs below the dam include Laurel Creek, Lynn Creek, Little Lynn Creek, and Camp Creek. Another reservoir in the watershed, Beech Fork Lake, impounds a small tributary of Twelve Pole Creek near the town of Lavallette.

The East and West Forks of Twelve Pole Creek, as well as Twelve Pole Creek are listed on the West Virginia 2012 303(d) list as impaired for biological criteria. The EFTC is listed from river mile 4.4 to East Lynn dam and from river mile 41.3 to its headwaters. The WFTC is impaired throughout its entire reach. Twelve Pole Creek is impaired from river mile 13.9 to its headwaters. Lynn Creek and Camp Creek are also listed as biologically impaired throughout their entire reaches (WVDEP, 2012a).

Many improvements have been made in the operation of East Lynn Reservoir although several opportunities still exist. Selective withdrawal capabilities have allowed operators to follow temperature trends by mixing warm epilimnetic water with cool hypolimnetic water. Moving the start of winter drawdown after reservoir mixing allowed operators to reduce releases of anoxic water downstream. Temperature is often cited as an important component of E-flow (Dyson et. al., 2003) but tailwater temperature changes due to increased flows during lake stratification have not been discussed. By using the temperature data collected this year, recommendations can be made on operation of the project that can significantly improve tailwater habitats.

  • West Virginia 2012 303(d) list as impaired for biological criteria
  • Flood Control Act of 1962

 

  • US Army Corps of Engineers Huntsville District
  • US Army Corps of Engineers Hydrologic Engineering Center
  • West Virginia Department of Natural Resources

Publications

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TitleSiteDate
Twelve Pole - Environmental flow implementationTwelve Pole Creek2013
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