Reclamation to Temporarily Lower Dickinson Reservoir Water Level

Media Contact: Arden Freitag, (701) 221-1250
Michael Odle, (406) 247-7609

For Release: November 14, 2008

The Bureau of Reclamation will lower the water level of Dickinson Reservoir (Patterson Lake) in North Dakota approximately one foot over the next two weeks. The lake level will be lowered to protect the service spillway gate and the gate de-icing system from ice-related damage over the winter and next spring.

The lower than normal reservoir water depth immediately upstream of the service spillway gate is currently about one foot deep and it is anticipated that the area extending to about 100 feet upstream of the gate will freeze solid over the winter. Water circulated through de-icing system pipes located along the upstream side of the gate will be unable to flow back into the reservoir when the reservoir freezes over. It is believed that a large ice buildup could occur upstream of the gate and that ice would likely accumulate around and within the de-icing system pipes. This ice accumulation would cause significant damage to the de-icing system pipes.

Lowering the lake level about one foot as planned prior to freeze-up could prevent having to lower the lake level next year to repair damages.

Dickinson Dam is a homogeneous earthfill structure across the Heart River, 1.5 miles west of Dickinson, North Dakota. It has a structural height of 62 feet and is 2,275 feet long across the crest. Dickinson Dam and Reservoir store water for irrigating valley lands downstream from the dam. Additional benefits of Dickinson Dam and Reservoir include flood control, fish and wildlife and recreation.

For more information, please call Arden Freitag at 701.221.1250.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @USBR.

Relevant Link:

Dakotas Area Office Home Page