USACE CWMS - Black Warrior Tombigbee Watershed

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Created: Jun 27, 2018 at 5:13 p.m.
Last updated: Jun 27, 2018 at 6:31 p.m.
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The Corps Water Management System (CWMS) includes four interrelated models to assist with water management for the basin:

- GeoHMS (Geospatial Hydrologic Modeling Extension)
- ResSIM (Reservoir System Simulation)
- RAS (River Analysis System)
- FIA (Flood Impact Analysis)

The Black Warrior-Tombigbee (BWT) River basin drains approximately 21,500 square miles, including a large portion of northeast Mississippi and approximately one third of the state of Alabama. The Black Warrior-Tombigbee drainage basin includes part or all of 29 counties in Alabama and Mississippi, with a combined population of several million. The basin is roughly triangular in shape, and is approximately 290 miles long with a width that varies from about 200 miles near the top of the basin to about 30 miles near the outlet. The Black Warrior River is formed about 20 miles west of Birmingham, Alabama, by the union of the Locust and Mulberry Forks, and from there flows in a generally southwesterly direction to its confluence with the Tombigbee River near Demopolis, Alabama. The Tombigbee River flows to near Calvert, Alabama, where it joins the Alabama River to form the Mobile River. Water resources in the BWT Basin have been managed to serve a variety of purposes including navigation, hydroelectric power, flood risk management, water supply, and water quality.

The Black Warrior River Basin is a 6,274 square mile watershed with headwaters originating in the Cumberland Plateau, just west of Birmingham, Alabama. From the confluence of the Locust and Mulberry Forks, the Black Warrior River flows generally southwest 45 miles to Tuscaloosa and then 130 miles to its confluence with the Tombigbee River at Demopolis. The three main headwater tributaries of the Black Warrior River are the Locust, Mulberry, and Sipsey Forks. The Sipsey Fork flows into the Mulberry fork approximately 44 miles above the confluence of the Mulberry Fork and Locust Fork, which form the Black Warrior River. Other major tributaries are North River and Blackwater, Lost, Village, and Valley creeks. From its headwater tributaries to about Tuscaloosa, Alabama, the Black Warrior River flows through deep narrow valleys and gorges in terrain that ranges from hilly to mountainous. Located entirely in this rugged country, the Locust, Mulberry, and Sipsey Forks have average slopes of approximately 3.5, 2, and 7 feet per mile, respectively. Channel capacities are 15,000 cfs on the Locust Fork at Sayre and 34,000 cfs on the Mulberry Fork at Cordova. From its confluence through this hill country, the Black Warrior River has an average slope of 2.7 feet per mile, relatively high banks, and an average channel width of about 800 feet. Below Tuscaloosa, the river crosses the fall line into the coastal plain, and the topography changes abruptly, resulting in relatively flat slopes, lower banks, and wider flood plains. The average slope of the Black Warrior River below Tuscaloosa to the confluence with the Tombigbee is about 0.5 feet per mile. The channel capacity at Tuscaloosa is about 65,000 cfs.

Along the Black Warrior River below Tuscaloosa, the flood plain averages about 4 miles in width and contains a mixture of agricultural and wooded lands. The primary agricultural use is pasture, but corn, cotton, hay, and many native crops are also grown in the flood plain. In the vicinity of Tuscaloosa and above Tuscaloosa the flood plain is generally 1 mile in width or narrower. The area above Tuscaloosa is also primarily farm land, however in the upper part of the Black Warrior basin there is a highly developed industrial area, concentrated mainly in the Birmingham region. The principal industry in the area is the production of primary metals and related by-products.

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Coordinate System/Geographic Projection:
WGS84 EPSG:4326
Coordinate Units:
['Decimal degrees']
North Latitude
East Longitude
South Latitude
West Longitude

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How to Cite

Myers, J. (2018). USACE CWMS - Black Warrior Tombigbee Watershed, HydroShare,

This resource is shared under the Creative Commons Attribution CC BY.


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