Reclamation Delays Construction of Nelson Dike Safety Modification to 2015

Media Contact: Margie Replogle, (406) 247-7303

For Release: February 18, 2014

BILLINGS, Mont. -- The Bureau of Reclamation is delaying the construction start for the Safety of Dams (SOD) Modification to Nelson Reservoir Dikes, located in Phillips County approximately 25 miles northeast of Malta, Mont. The schedule delay will push the project back one year from the fall of 2014 to the fall of 2015.

"This change is necessary to reduce the risk of not completing the construction work in one season," said Brent Esplin, Montana Area Manager. "One construction season is important to minimize the required timeframes the reservoir levels will be drawn down. The work will require the reservoir to be drawn down approximately 16 feet lower than normal operating levels during the winter of 2015-2016."

Reclamation proposes to correct seepage-related safety deficiencies for the two largest dikes at Nelson Reservoir.

According to Esplin, "Interim safety measures have been implemented and frequent monitoring of the safety deficiencies are being carried out to ensure public safety until the modifications are completed."

An Environmental Assessment (EA) for the modification has been finalized and a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) has been signed. The public can access the final EA and FONSI on Reclamation's website at

For additional information or questions, please call 406-247-7303.

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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:

Montana Area Office Home Page