Alamo Dam is located on the Bill Williams River (BWR), 39 miles (62.8 km) upstream from the Colorado River at Lake Havasu. The dam is on the border of La Paz and Mohave Counties in Arizona. Alamo Dam and Lake is a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) multi-purpose project authorized under the Flood Control Act of 1944 (Public Law 78-534). The project’s initial authorization included flood control and other purposes such as hydropower generation, water conservation, and recreation. The Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 1996 added fish and wildlife benefits as an authorized purpose, provided that those benefits did not reduce existing flood control or recreation benefits (Public Law 104-303). While hydropower was initially authorized for the project, this purpose was not deemed feasible and a powerplant has never been constructed.
Alamo Dam is currently operated as described in the 2003 Water Control Manual (USACE, 2003; WCM). The operations contained in the 2003 WCM originated in the 1999 Alamo Lake Feasibility Report and Environmental Impact Statement (USACE, 1999; EIS) and associated 1999 Alamo Lake Re-operation and Ecosystem Restoration Biological Opinion (BO).
Due to the ecological significance to the Bill Williams River, Alamo Dam is a part of The Nature Conservancy Sustainable Rivers program. The Corps works with a number of stakeholder groups as a part of the Bill Williams River Corridor Steering Committee (BWRCSC) to utilize the latest scientific knowledge to manage the operations of the Dam.
The area around Alamo Lake and along the Bill Williams River is home to a number of protected species. This includes the southwestern willow flycatcher, yellow-billed cuckoo, Yuma clapper rail, northern Mexican gartersnake, and bonytail chub, all of which are protected under the Endangered Species Act. Significant quantities of native cottonwood-willow habitat occurs both above and below the dam. This habitat is among the largest and most-intact preserved riparian habitat remaining in the lower Colorado River drainage, and is vital to supporting local populations of native birds and other wildlife.
Alamo Lake is a public recreation facility currently managed by Arizona State Parks (ASP) and Arizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD). Existing facilities include five campgrounds with a total 250 camp sites, rental cabins, three boat launch areas, a privately operated concession and store, and numerous picnic areas. The lake is one of the premiere warm-water fisheries in the state of Arizona, hosting several sport fishing tournaments annually. The lake’s fisheries include largemouth bass, black crappie, and catfish. For information on Alamo Lake State Park visit the Park’s website: https://azstateparks.com/alamo-lake.
Areas of above Alamo Dam as well as below the dam along the Bill Williams River are popular destinations for off-highway vehicle recreation. This includes the recent development of the multi-purpose Arizona Peace Trail.
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