Alabama River

Water Area: 35,640 acres
Land Area: 12,425 acres

Alabama River

River course

Flowing through the heart of the state, the Alabama River forms at the confluence of the Coosa and Tallapoosa rivers. It flows approximately 15 miles before reaching Montgomery, falling rapidly at approximately 5 feet per mile. Then the river transitions gradually to a slope of .82 foot per mile. The Alabama River meanders westerly for 100 miles to Selma and then southwesterly 210 miles before it joins the Tombigbee River among swamps and marshlands and forms the Mobile River.

The Alabama unifies the state’s eastern Rivers, the Coosa and Tallapoosa, and her western rivers, the Cahaba, Black Warrior and Tombigbee. (Keith) Large tributaries of the Alabama include Little River, Limestone, Pursley, Turkey, Pine Barren, Cedar, Mulberry, Boguechitto, Big Swamp, Pintlala, and Catoma creeks.

Channel Facts

Free-flowing sections of the river pass high bluffs carved from the Black Belt’s chalky soils. Of the Alabama’s 315 mainstem river miles, 233 are impounded by the Robert F. Henry, Millers Ferry, and Claiborne lock and dams. Before their construction, low water during summer and fall exposed shoals and sandbars, making the river all but impossible to navigate.

The Alabama River has a carrying capacity that varies from 100,000 to 150,000 cubic feet per second (cfs). (Corps ’98) Floods resulting from storms inundate bottomlands along the principal streams on an average of from two to five times a year.

The mainstem of the Alabama River flows through or borders 9 Alabama counties: Elmore, Autauga, Montgomery, Lowndes, Dallas, Wilcox, Monroe, Baldwin and Clarke.

River Stats

Drainage Area: 22,168 square miles in 18 counties
Authorized River Length: 314 miles
Authorized Channel Depth: 9 feet 1972
Authorized Channel Width: 200 feet
Authorized Channel Depth: 9 feet

Alabama River Stats

ClaiborneMillers Ferry
Legth of Dam (feet)1,016994
Height of Dam (feet)95.599.5
Clear Lock Dimensions (feet)84 X 60084 X 600
Minimum Depth Over Sills (feet)1313
Maximum Lift (feet)3048
Year Opened to Navigation19691969
Power Installation (KW)None75,000
Year Power On LineNone1970
Length of Lake (miles)60.5103
Area of Lake (acres)5,93017,200
Length of Shoreline (miles)160516