Coosa River

Water Area: 10,100 acres
River Length: 280 miles

Coosa River

River course

The Coosa River watershed is born in the northwestern corner of Georgia (and a small piece of Tennessee) as several vital tributaries, the Conasauga, Coosawattee, Oostanaula, and Etowah rivers. As these headwater mountain streams converge, the emerging Coosa flows southwest along the valleys of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Cumberland Plateau into Alabama. The remaining 89% of the river mainstem (GA DNR) then flows 286 miles to north of Montgomery. There it joins the Tallapoosa to form the Alabama River.

The river falls approximately 420 feet in 267 miles, or 1.6 feet per mile. (Corps) The Coosa River channel varies from 300 to 500 feet wide, with banks 25 feet high along the flood plain.

Channel Facts

The Coosa River watershed covers an enormous area of about 10,200 square miles, of which roughly 4,500 square miles (46%) lie in Georgia, and 5,400 square miles (53%) lie in Alabama. Less than 130 square miles (1%) of the watershed occurs in Tennessee. (GA DNR)

Seven Alabama Power Company dams form continuous impoundments along most of the Coosa River, each discharging into the upper end of the next downstream impoundment. The first is located 60 miles below Rome and the last one 19 miles above the confluence with the Tallapoosa River.

Flows in the Coosa are about 15,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) at Rome, and 50,000 cfs near Gadsden. (Corps)

Coosa River Dam Statistics

Walter BouldinJordanMitchellLay
Length of Dam (feet)11,1782,0661,2772,260
Height of Dam (feet)120125106129.6
Maximum Depth at Dam (feet)251109088
Power Installation (KW)225,000100,000170,000177,000
Year Power On Line1967192819851914
Length of Lake (miles)318.41448.2
Area of Lake (acres)6,8006,8005,85012,000
Length of Shoreline (miles)118118147289