BIG dam...

More than 7,200 feet long and approximately 2.5 million cubic yards of dirt.

The dam was conceived over 30 years ago.  Over the years, the project was considered to have a $6 to $7 million dollar price tag and funding was in place to provide that amount.  However, revised design criteria and escalation of construction costs resulted in a conceptual cost estimate of $15 million in 2005.  Project challenges included revised design criteria, an owner initiative to obtain additional funding, sampling and characterizing highly variable sediments, the need for an economical seepage barrier and the lack of a local rock source for riprap.  In addition, the bidding process required modification due to political issues and had to be restarted and completed before the new funding source was jeopardized.  The high hazard dam includes a zones earth fill embankment with a volume of approximately 2,500,000 CY.  The embankment is 86 feet high, with a crest length of 7,210 feet.  The seepage control features include a conventional cut-off trench to bedrock and a cement/bentonite slurry trench.  The principal spillway consists of an intake tower, a 60 inch diameter concrete encased steel pipe and a stilling basin.  The auxiliary spillway is an excavated 500 foot wide unlined, open channel protected with concrete cut off walls.  Erosion protection is provided by broken concrete.   Construction was completed in 2009, with a final construction cost $2 million UNDER the total construction budget and delivered to the owner one month ahead of schedule. 

In May of 2015, HorseThief Reservoir filled to full capacity.  To this date, October 2015, we are holding steady at approximately 95% capacity.  Many of the construction workers, board members, and manager never thought they would live to see the reservoir fill to full capacity!  The lake continues to be busy proving that water brings people from all over, even from New Zealand.   



   The beginning stages of building the dam. Thank you, Tom Zachman for the photos
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