Possum Kingdom Lake (Brazos River Basin)

Hells Gate Possum Kingdom Lake (Photo provided by the owner)Possum Kingdom Lake and Morris Sheppard Dam are located about eighteen miles southeast of Graham mainly in Palo Pinto County, on the Brazos River.  The Lake and the dam are owned operated by the Brazos River Authority for municipal, industrial, mining, irrigation, flood-control, recreational, and power-generation uses.  The dam, named for Senator John Morris Sheppard, was authorized by the United States Congress in 1935 and by the State of Texas (Permit No. 1262) on May 9, 1938.  Construction for the dam began on May 29, 1938, under general contractors C. F. Lytle and A. L. Johnson and was completed on March 20, 1941.  Deliberate impoundment started on March 21, 1941 and power generation began on April 17, 1941.  The dam, a reinforced concrete, Ambursen-type, massive buttress with flat-slab deck, a section of nine roof-weir gates, two bulkhead sections, and an earthen dike.  The total length is 2,740 feet with a maximum height of 189 feet with the top of the dam at elevation 1,024 feet above mean sea level.  The lake, named after the original place where Possum are plentiful for hunters in the earlier day of 1900s, used to have a storage capacity of 724,700 acre-feet, a surface area of 19,800 acres at the conservation pool elevation 1,000 feet above mean sea level.  However, according to TWDB 2005 volumetric survey, the storage capacity of the lake has reduced to 540,340 acre-feet encompassing a surface area of 16,716 acres at the same elevation, mainly due to sedimentation.  The dam controls a drainage area of about 22,550 square miles, of which 9,240 are noncontributing.

Additional Information