Enid Lake History

Enid Lake is one of the four lakes in North Mississippi constructed as part of a Comprehensive Flood Control Plan designed to protect the Mississippi Delta from flooding. Following the Great Flood of 1927, Congress passed the Flood Control Act of 1928, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District became involved in a monumental flood control program, which eventually included lakes, levees, and other measures. In 1936, the Yazoo Headwater Project became a reality and resulted in the construction of Sardis, Arkabutla, Enid, and Grenada lakes.

Prior to the construction of Enid Dam many families had to pack up their possessions and move from their farms along the Yocona River Bottom. In many cases these farms had been in their families for generations, and life as they had known it drastically changed. It was very difficult for these families because they could not envision the project or the many future benefits that would result from the construction of the dam. Making way for progress left many settlers with mixed emotions about flood control and the Federal government.

Construction of Enid Dam began February 1, 1947. The project employed many workers that included carpenters, construction workers, and machine operators. The post-war labor force used by contractors was large and plentiful. Workers welcomed the wages earned from work days that lasted anywhere from 12 to 14 hours a day, seven days a week. The abundance of workers led to the completion of the dam in less than six years. Pride abounded when Enid Dam was placed into operation in December 1952 and labor crews witnessed the fruits of their labor.

 The project was performed under two major contracts. The first contract involved construction on the embankment, and spillway. Since the Yocona River ran through the dam site, earthwork on the dam could not begin until the river was diverted and temporarily re-routed. After completion of this part of the dam, riprap was placed on the upstream side to prevent damage from wave action. This left the embankment complete except for the final closure section. The spillway was constructed at the north end of the dam. As the name implies, it is only used during high water conditions when water spills over to release stress on the dam. Completion of the spillway ended the first contract on November 15, 1950. The second contract provided for the construction of the outlet works and embankment closure. The outlet works included the approach channel, intake and transition, conduits, stilling basin and control tower or gatehouse.

During the second contract workers excavated the outlet channel to connect the outlet structure with the existing river. At the same time an approach channel was excavated upstream for the outlet structure connecting the intake of the structure with the existing river channel above the dam.  These channels allowed the river flow to be diverted through the outlet channel structure so that the final closure could be completed. After completing the relocation of roads and bridges, the second contract ended and the project was placed into operation in December 1952.  The total cost of the project, including lands, highway and utility relocation was approximately $15,000,000.

The two major flood control components of Enid Dam are the Outlet Works and the Spillway. The control tower or gatehouse is the part of the outlet works that controls the water level in the lake.  Located inside the building are two gates, which can be opened or closed to regulate water levels. When water is released, it flows through two 11-foot diameter conduits and comes out on the downstream side of the dam and through the stilling basin. The job of the stilling basin is to slow or "still" the velocity of the water to prevent erosion of the outlet channel.  This is accomplished by the placement of concrete baffle blocks in the stilling basin at the mouth of the outlet channel.  These blocks act as a barrier and effectively slow the water so it can safely flow down the channel. When the water level of the lake exceeds 268.0 feet above sea level, or flood stage, it is the job of the spillway to handle the excess water.  At this high lake level, water will spill over the top of the spillway and flow downstream.  In the history of the dam, the emergency spillway has experienced flow four times - 1973, 1983, 1991, and 2002.

The Enid Lake Project covers approximately 44,000 acres and is visited by more than 1.7 million people each year. Although the primary purpose of Enid Lake is flood risk management, many other benefits have been derived from the project. From the time the lake was put into operation, the demand for recreational opportunities has steadily increased.  Enid Lake has always been very popular with camping enthusiasts. Today, Enid offers some of the most modern campgrounds and picnicking facilities in the nation. With approximately 17,000 acres of water, water sports such as swimming, boating and water skiing are very popular. Additionally, almost 28,000 acres of the project are managed for fish and wildlife and provides some of the best hunting and fishing opportunities in north Mississippi. As a matter of fact, Enid Lake is known as one of the best fishing lakes in the southeast and welcomes thousands of fishermen annually.  The World Record White Crappie was caught from Enid Lake in 1957 and weighed 5 lbs. 3 ozs.  

As a multi-purpose lake, Enid provides many economic benefits to our local communities. Visitors spend 12.75 million dollars annually within 30 miles of Enid Lake.  The lake is directly or indirectly responsible for 358 jobs in the local area. Another mission for Enid Lake is Water Supply.  Enid Lake furnishes water to South Mississippi Electric Power Generation Facility in Batesville, Mississippi, and to the North Mississippi Fish Hatchery located below the dam. The South Mississippi Electric Power Generation Facility provides electricity to a number of locations across the nation. Enid Lake also supplies water to the North Mississippi Fish Hatchery. This state of the art facility was constructed to provide a number of fish species to lakes and waterways across the state. The North Mississippi Fish Hatchery also has a visitor center that will give visitors an in depth look at fish production as well as the progression of fishing throughout time. These two facilities employ over 70 people from the local area. 

Whether visitors come to Enid Lake to learn more about the history of its construction, to enjoy the many excellent recreational facilities, or simply to enjoy the quiet solitude of a beautiful lake with a family-friendly atmosphere, each visit will be unique and satisfying.  


Flood Risk Management

In 1927, the Lower Mississippi Valley was literally swamped by one of the worst floods on record, and the Vicksburg District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was caught in the middle. Much of the land along the Mississippi and its tributaries was protected by levees, and only by levees. Following the 1927 Flood, it was realized that, while levees were indispensable, to depend on them for flood protection was suicidal. With the Flood Control Act of 1928, the district became involved in a comprehensive flood control program, which eventually included Arkabutla, Sardis, Enid, and Grenada lakes.

Construction of Enid Dam started February 1, 1947, and the lake was placed in operation in December 1952. The total cost of the project, including lands, highway and utility relocation, was approximately $15,000,000. When filled to the spillway crest, the lake extends up the Yocona River Valley a distance of over 18 miles, with a surface area of approximately 28,000 acres and 220 miles of shoreline. In 2002, Enid Lake celebrated its 50th Anniversary.

Enid Lake is operated on a Rule Curve for filling and lowering the lake. Daily Pool Stages are taken and are published on the District web page.

Drainage Area Controlled, Sq. Mi. --------------------------------- 560

Pool Area, Acres ------------------------------------------------------ 6100
Storage, Acre-Feet* -------------------------------------------------- 57,600
Lowest Pool Elev., Feet N.G.V.D. --------------------------------- 230.0
Average Depth at Dam, Feet --------------------------------------- 20.0
Shore Line, Miles ------------------------------------------------------ 65


Pool Area, Acres ------------------------------------------------------ 28,000
Storage, Acre-Feet* -------------------------------------------------- 602,400
Pool Elev., Feet N.G.V.D. ------------------------------------------- 268.0
Design Conduit Capacity, C.F.S. --------------------------------- 9,400
Max. Regulated Conduit Outflow, C.F.S. ------------------------ 2,400
Shore Line, Miles ----------------------------------------------------- 220


* One acre-foot equals one acre of water one foot deep or 325,850 gallons.

Natural Resources Management

The Natural Resources Management staff at Enid Lake manages a diversity of habitats with a variety of tools. Multiple-use resource management practices benefit game and non-game species alike. Along with holding world records for short-nose gar (5.83 lbs) and white crappie( 5.3lbs), Enid Lake provides a vast array of wildlife recreation opportunities for all, from fishing and hunting to bird watching and nature hikes. In addition to all the land areas managed by the NRM staff, Enid Lake also maintains two wetland management areas: Springdale Wildlife Management Area and the Dean Hill Wildlife Management Area at Wildcat Brake.

The various management techniques described below are used to control, sustain, protect and preserve Enid Lake's natural resources for this generation and future generations.


Prescribed Burning

Fire is the most natural tool that can be used for managing habitat. It has occurred naturally in most ecosystems for thousands of years and some areas, such as grasslands and prairies must have fire disturbances in order for them to continue to survive. Enid Lake has an active prescribed burning program for multiple-use-resource management.

Supplemental Food Plots

To supplement the natural available food sources, Enid Lake manages grain crops, millet, peas, sunflowers, milo and wheat.

Wetland Management

Enid currently has eleven moist soil units managed with water control structures and numerous bottomlands that seasonally flood. These areas provide critical habitat for resident and migratory bird species.

Succession Control

Clipping and fall disking is a major proponent for keeping open lands beneficial to wildlife. Open lands are maintained in various successional stages to provide nesting and feeding habitat to a variety of wildlife.

Watchable Wildlife

Enid Lake participates in a nationwide program, the viewing of wildlife in its natural settings. Work to improve and increase the watchable wildlife program is an on-going process. Depending upon the time of year, visitors may see bald eagles nesting, waterfowl migrating, or a variety of other plant and animal species at Enid Lake. 


Environmental Stewardship

Environmental stewardship is the responsible use and protection of our natural environment through conservation and sustainable practices.  The Corps of Engineers is committed to the preservation of the resources that are under its authority and, it is through responsible planning and management techniques that the staff at Enid Lake accomplishes that task.  However, with over 44,000 acres of forest and wetlands which make up the Enid Lake Project, it is imperative that we all do our part to preserve and protect Enid Lake's natural environment.  By teaching environmental principles through outreach programs, special events, and volunteer efforts, Enid's staff is helping to ensure her natural resources will be available for future generations to experience and enjoy.  A few of our more popular events are listed below.


Habitat Day

Habitat Day activities began in 1990 as a result of concerns about the loss of fish structure in the lake due to the process of aging and inundation.  The Corps of Engineers joined forces with a local Bass Club to begin replacing lost habitat with cedar tree shelters.  Since that time, Habitat Day has become an annual event with increased numbers of participants and shelters each year.

Clean Up Day

Clean-Up Day began in 2004 as a result of concerns about the amount of litter and rubbish that had accumulated on the shoreline and roadways around the lake. The Corps of Engineers partnered with citizens of local communities surrounding the lake and planned an annual event that would set aside one day committed to picking up trash and rubbish to restore and maintain the beauty of Enid Lake.

World Water Monitoring Day

World Water Monitoring Day is held every fall during the month of October. During the event, students from local schools visit Enid Lake to participate in water quality studies. Studies includes: water sampling, analyzing data, and reporting results to a national water quality data base. During the day students are educated about the value of clean water to our environment, and the importance of protecting our natural resources.

Environmental Awareness Day

Environmental Awareness Day, formally known as National Earth Day, is a globally celebrated event. It is an annual observance held to increase public awareness of environmental issues and to encourage support for clean air, clean water, and clean land. Each year the Corps of Engineers provides various stations for local school groups to visit. Rangers address issues on land use, forestry, wetland management and wildlife.

Recreational Stewardship Practices (Tread Lightly)

  • Travel Responsibly - Stay on designated roads, trails and recreational areas.
  • Respect the Rights of Others - This includes land owners and other users of the land or water where you are recreating.
  • Educate Yourself - Plan your trip, learn the rules of an area, take recreational skills classes and know how to operate your equipment safely before you arrive.
  • Avoid Sensitive Areas - examples:  meadows, lakeshores, wetlands and streams.  Do not disturb historical, archeological or paleontological sites.  Do not operate watercraft in shallow waters or near the shorelines at high speeds.
  • Do Your Part - Model appropriate behavior, leave an area better than you found it, properly dispose of waste, minimize the use of fire, avoid the spread of invasive species, and repair degraded areas.

For more information about Tread Lightly, visit their website at www.treadlightly.org


The winter drawdown of Enid Lake exposes thousands of acres of mudflats.  Exploration of these mudflat areas is a popular recreational activity for many lake visitors.  While the Corps encourages visitors to enjoy this activity, they ask that visitors keep safety and resource protection in mind.  Mudflat areas provide a variety of interesting and unique features but also present a number of hazards to those who choose to explore them.  When traveling across the open mudflat areas, visitors are encouraged to use caution and be observant of hazards such as trot-lines, dead timber, sinkholes, etc. 

Over the past several years, the recreational sport of All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) riding has become increasingly popular at Enid Lake.  Riders are encouraged to participate in Tread Lightly!  This is an educational program dedicated to increasing the public's awareness of how to enjoy the great outdoors while minimizing the impacts of recreational use.

Even though ATVs were built and designed for the effective navigation of rocky, muddy and root-covered terrain, the US Army Corps of Engineers at Enid Lake challenges all ATV riders to be environmentally conscious and to practice the principles listed above when visiting Enid Lake.  The misuse of ATVs can cause rutting and destroy sensitive wetland habitat, erode creek banks, and even destroy native species allowing invasive plant species to take over.  Streambed riding is PROHIBITED as it damages and destroys the sensitive aquatic life of both plants and animals that are important to our ecosystems.

Visitors should also be aware the destruction, defacement, removal, or any alteration of public property including natural formations, mineral deposits, historical and archaeological features (material from old house sites, arrowheads and other Native American artifacts, etc.) and paleontological resources (Native American remains) are illegal and therefore prohibited.

Each visitor comes to enjoy something different; yet there is one common goal and that is to enjoy and utilize Enid Lake and its natural resources.  With this in mind, visitors are reminded the public lands surrounding Enid Lake are for everyone's enjoyment and it is the responsiblity of each visitor to protect and preserve its resources, respect others and to obey all rules and regulations.