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Wilson Reservoir

Ecological health rating

The overall ecological health condition of Wilson Reservoir rated poor in 2012. Ratings for Wilson Reservoir have fluctuated in a pattern that generally follows reservoir flow conditions, primarily due to the influence of flows on dissolved oxygen in the forebay. Like most Tennessee River main-stem reservoirs, Wilson tends to rate better in years with higher flow and worse in dry years that result in extended periods of low flow.

Wilson Reservoir Ecological Health Ratings, 1994-2012

reservoir ratings chart

Click chart for raw data.  


The table below shows the ratings for individual ecological health indicators at Wilson in 2012. These ratings are briefly explained in the paragraphs that follow.

Ecological Health Indicators for
Wilson Reservoir, 2012

Monitoring locations

Dissolved oxygen



Bottom life



Dissolved oxygen

Dissolved oxygen levels near Wilson Dam rated poor due to the presence of low concentrations in the lower water column from May through August. Dissolved oxygen typically rates fair in years with more normal flows and poor in dryer, low-flow years.


Similar to most previous years, chlorophyll rated poor because concentrations were elevated throughout most of the summer.


The fish community rated good at the forebay and fair at the inflow monitoring location. The fish assemblage has consistently scored at the upper end of the fair range to good at the forebay whereas scores at the inflow have fluctuated within the fair range except for a poor rating in 2000.

Bottom life

Bottom life rated poor at the forebay and good at the inflow. Bottom life has rated poor or at the low end of the fair range each year at the forebay, probably due to low oxygen levels near the reservoir bottom and lack of good habitat. This indicator typically rates good or ”high fair” at the inflow location.


Sediment quality rated fair because low levels of PCBs were detected in samples collected at the forebay. No pesticides were detected, and all metals concentrations were within the expected range. Sediment quality typically rates good, but chlordane, a pesticide previously used to control termites and crop pests, was detected in the sediment sample from the forebay in 1998 and 2004, resulting in fair ratings.


See definitions of ecological health indicators and monitoring locations.


Fish consumption advisories

Wilson Reservoir - TVA maintains a program to examine contaminants in fish fillets from TVA reservoirs and their major tributary streams on a rotational basis.  The data collected from this program is distributed to the state officials who are responsible for placing or removing fish tissue consumption advisories on those bodies of water. For information on advisories currently in effect for Wilson Reservoir, visit the Epidemiology Division of Alabama Department of Public Health’s web page. 



lake photo

Wilson Reservoir is located on the Tennessee River in northwest Alabama.


More about Wilson

Sport fishing ratings

Spring sportfish survey results

General information

To see monitoring results for other TVA reservoirs, choose from the list below.

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