Reclamation Crews Inspect Red Willow Dam

Media Contact: Marvin Swanda, (308) 345-1027
Terri Salter, (308) 389-5306

For Release: October 28, 2009

The Bureau of Reclamation announces that investigations are taking place at Red Willow Dam (Hugh Butler Lake), approximately 11 miles north of McCook, Neb. Engineers from Reclamation's Denver Technical Service Center and Nebraska-Kansas Area Office will be on-site to monitor, excavate and inspect portions of Red Willow Dam in order to identify the cause of a small hole discovered last week by maintenance crews working at the facility.

Aaron Thompson, Reclamation's Nebraska-Kansas Area Manager, expects no impacts to visitors at Hugh Butler Lake. "Primarily, I want to ensure that people are aware that we'll have crews at the dam site," he said. "Reclamation takes the structural integrity of our dams very seriously, and any anomalies within the vicinity of our facilities are approached with an abundance of caution."

Thompson said that as a precaution, local emergency managers were notified. "We are currently gathering data on the situation and monitoring the site," he said. "When we have completed investigations, we will formulate a plan of action based on those results."

Red Willow Dam, located on Red Willow Creek about 11 miles north of McCook, is an earthfill embankment with a structural height of 126 feet that forms a reservoir of 86,630 acre-feet. An ungated concrete spillway is located in the right abutment and a river outlet works provides for river and irrigation releases. The reservoir behind this dam is Hugh Butler Lake.

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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:

Nebraska-Kansas Area Office Home Page