Buckhorn Dam


Buckhorn Dam

Most of the Grass Valley Creek drainage basin is located within the Shasta Balley Batholith. This Jurassic batholith ranges in composition from a quartz diorite to granodiorite and is deeply weathered. Cenozoic alluvial deposits accumulated over much of the area. Remnants of terrace deposits are scattered on hillsides above the present-day creekbed. Quaternary alluvial deposits are deposited within the tributary drainages and creekbed; a variable depths of slopewash cover most of the slopes.

At the damsite, Grass Valley Creek meanders across on alluvium-filled flood plain which is mapped as Qal and varies from 240 to 460 feet wide and consists mostly of loose to firm silty sand and poorly graded sand with silt. On the hillsides, quartz diorite, mapped as Jqd, is usually covered by slopewash, mapped as Qsw. The slopewash consists mostly silty sand.  Remnants of terrace deposits, mapped as QTt, are scattered on hillsides above the present-day creek bed and consist of mostly silty sand, poorly graded to silty sand and sandy lean clay. outcrops of quartz diorite and core is differentiate on the basis of weathering which ranges from decomposed to slightly weathered.

The water table slopes toward Grass Valley Creek from the adjacent quartz diorite ridge. Active springs, seeps and a swamp area are confined to the channel area. Water level readings in the abutments indicates water levels rises within the abutments to elevation 2770.0 feet in left abutment drill hole LA-1 and to elevation 2780 in auger hole AP-411 in the right abutment. Water levels in the channel are generally controlled by the water level of Grass Valley Creek.

Permeabilities calculated from drill and auger holes water tests indicate that the alluvium (Qal) ranged from 2152 to 204,688 feet per year, the terrace deposits ranged from 0 to 2796.9 feet per and the quartz diorite ranges except in drill hole DH-114, from 0 to 302 feet per year. In drill hole DH-114, permeabilities up to 1,165.4 were reported in the quartz diorite.

RegionFacilities in Mid-Pacific | Mid-Pacific Home Page
ProjectCentral Valley
Dam Type
WatercourseGrass Valley Creek
Original Construction1988-1991
Modified Construction
National ID NumberCA82938
Hydrologic Unit Code

Structural Height90.0 ft
Hydraulic Height (Normal Operating Depth at Dam)72.0 ft
Top Parapet (Elevation)
Spillway Crest Elevation2803.0 ft
Crest Elevation2815.0 ft
Crest Length700.0 ft
Crest Width
Base Width
Volume of Dam Construction Materials
Streambed at Dam Axis2731.0 ft
Top of Exclusive Flood Control Pool (Elevation)
Top of Joint Use Pool (Elevation)18.0 ft
Top of Active Conservation Pool (Elevation)2803.0 ft
Top of Inactive Conservation Pool (Elevation)2745.0 ft
Top of Dead Storage Pool (Elevation)2745.0 ft

Hydraulics & Hydrology
Total Water Storage at Elevation
Maximum Water Surface Elevation
Normal Water Surface Elevation2803.0 ft
Spillway Type
Auxiliary SpillwayNo
Spillway Capacity at Elevation14400 cfs at 2811.2 ft
Auxiliary Spillway Capacity at Elevation
Uncontrolled Spillway Capacity at Elevation
Outlet Works Capacity at Elevation
Diversion Capacity at Elevation
Drainage Area9.3 sq mi
Hydrometeorological Report (HMR)HMR 36
Probable Maximum Flood (PMF) Report

Contact Information
Title  Area Office Manager
Organization Northern California Area Office
Address 16349 Shasta Dam Boulevard
City Shasta Lake, CA 96019
Phone (Office) 530-275-1554
TitleArea Office Manager
OrganizationNorthern California Area Office
Address16349 Shasta Dam Boulevard
CityShasta Lake, CA 96019
Phone (Office)530-275-1554

Last updated: Jan 16, 2015