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Millsite dam online for rehabilitation


Millsite dam needs rehabilitation.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service has approved the request from the San Rafael Soil Conservation District for development of a rehabilitation plan for the Millsite Dam within the Ferron Watershed. The 35 year old multi-purpose dam located just upstream of the town of Ferron was constructed for irrigation, flood prevention, sediment control for rural agricultural land, municipal and industrial use as well as recreation.

"Because of the age and condition of the dam and the changes in safety and performance criteria, we have asked for assistance from NRCS in rehabilitating the dam to ensure it remains safe and continues to function as it was designed," said Roger Barton, District Board Chairperson. The dam was designed for a 100-year lifespan and has provided irrigation storage, flood protection and recreation for 35 years, but now updates are needed to bring the structure into full compliance with State Dam Safety and NRCS safety and performance criteria.

The NRCS will soon begin looking at alternatives and developing a rehabilitation plan. Landowners and others who are involved or affected by the project will have an opportunity to provide input into the plan. Rehabilitation alternatives can include removal of the dam or combinations of several other options such as replacement of concrete and metal components of the principal spillway, increasing the height of the dam and width of the auxiliary spillway, and other options depending on conditions of the dam and what is located downstream.

The Millsite Dam is one of 10 dams built in the Ferron Watershed. These 10 dams provide an estimated $3 million in annual benefits. This is Utah's first rehabilitation project initiated through the Watershed Rehabilitation Amendment to the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act. The Act authorizes the USDA-NRCS to work with local communities and watershed project sponsors to address public health and safety concerns and potential adverse impacts of aging dams. If the plan is approved NRCS can provide 65 percent of the funding for rehabilitation and the other 35 percent of the funding will come from state and/or local appropriated funds.

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