Big Island Dam

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Big Island Dam
Big Island Dam is located in Virginia
Big Island Dam
Location of Big Island Dam in Virginia
Location Bedford County, Virginia / Amherst County, Virginia, U.S.
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Purpose Hydroelectric
Status In use
Opening date 1850
Owner(s) GP Big Island, LLC (Georgia Pacific Corporation)
Operator(s) GP Big Island, LLC (Georgia Pacific Corporation)
Dam and spillways
Type of dam Gravity
Impounds James River
Height 15 ft (4.6 m)
Length 657 ft (200 m)
Power station
Operator(s) GP Big Island, LLC (Georgia Pacific Corporation)
Hydraulic head 18 ft (5.5 m)
Installed capacity 480 KW[1]
FERC Number: P-2902[2]

The Big Island Dam is a hydroelectric generation facility on the James River near the community of Big Island, Virginia. The project includes a gravity dam spanning the left side of river and a power house on the right bank which contain hydroelectric generation equipment.[3] The dam is located adjacent to and integrated with the large Georgia Pacific paper mill at this location.

The dam is located downstream of the nearby Bedford Hydropower Project and is the last in a series of three dams within the span of five miles as the river crosses the Blue Ridge Mountains.


  1. Report of Property Owner Survey Report GP Big Island, LLC under P-2902. FERC Ascension Number 20130122-5303. January 22, 2013.
  2. Letter requesting GP Big Island, LLC to provide a plan and schedule w/in 45 days to remove vegetation from the face of the dam re the Big Island Project under P-2902. FERC Ascension Number 20131018-0210. October 15, 2013.
  3. US Army Corps of Engineers National Inventory of Dams, NIDID VA00902