Norris Dam impounds the Clinch River, a mountain tributary of the Tennessee River. The facility stands as a tribute and symbol of the birth of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). Given broad jurisdiction over resource development in the watershed (a 40,000-square-mile basin comprising parts of Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, and Tennessee), the TVA was formed to plan for flood control, improve navigation, and produce hydroelectric power.
The massive Grand Coulee Dam, on the Columbia River, is the largest concrete structure in the U.S., the largest hydroelectric facility in the U.S., and the sixth-largest hydroelectric facility in the world. It provides irrigation for up to 1.1 million acres of agricultural lands and the hydroelectric complex maintains a generating capacity of 6.8 million kilowatts. It also serves as the primary flood control for the Columbia River basin (with a capacity of 5.18 million acre-feet of water) and provides recreational opportunities on the 150-mile-long Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake.
The Fort Peck Dam was a cornerstone project of the Works Progress Administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal. It required the largest construction plant and workforce since the construction of the Panama Canal and peaked at 11,000 workers. It was the largest dam of any type in the world for over 30 years.