Project Site: Cheatam Lock and Dam


Located on the Cumberland River, Cheatham Lake is a riverine lake formed by the Cheatham Lock and Dam. Originally a navigation project, the Army Corps of Engineers designed a dam and three lock
system to facilitate navigation along the Cumberland River; replacing three locks built at the turn of thecentury. Approved in 1946, the three locks were fully functional and open for navigation in 1952. That same year Congress approved the plan for the Cheatham hydroelectric power plant. Today the Cheatham power plant provides an estimated average annual energy output of 160,000,000 kilowatt hours; enough to power 15,000 homes a year.
Cheatham lake is over 67 miles long, extending from Cheatham Lock and Dam on the lower end of the lake, through the heart of Nashville, to Old Hickory Lock and Dam on the upper end. It contains various sloughs and marshes, and is home to two major tributaries of the Cumberland River: Harpeth River and Sycamore Creek. It varies from broad floodplains to moderate steep rides. Extending out from the lake are hardwood forests, as well as pine forests. It is home to a variety of fish species,including, rockfish, lunker largemouth bass, sauger, white bass and panfish. Bald Eagles nest by the lake and can be seen year around. A variety of waterfowl call the lake their home; and since the 1960s it has had one of the most concentrated nesting locations for Cliff Swallows in the state of Tennesseee.
With over 320 miles of shoreline, Cheatham lake offers a variety of activities, from boating, swimming,fishing to hunting, camping and hiking. It plays host to a variety of events such as the Young Fish Bustin’ Rodeo, Music City’s Bass Angler Tournament, and Nashville Bassmasters Tournament. Visitors to Cheatham Lake can visit the dam, take a tour of the hydroelectric power plant, or participate in the numerous activities on and around Cheatham Lake.
(Picture compliments of Johnnie Welborn Jr.)