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Huntley Project
Anita Dam at Huntley Project, Montana
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General Description| Plan| Development| Benefits

General Description

The Huntley Project is in south-central Montana. Project works include a rockfill and concrete diversion dam, 32 miles of main canal, 22 miles of carriage canals, 202 miles of laterals, 186.5 miles of drains, a hydraulic turbine-driven pumping plant and an auxiliary electric pumping plant, both in the main canal, and in an offstream storage reservoir. The project can furnish water to irrigate approximately 30,000 acres.

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Plan

The project diverts water from the Yellowstone River to irrigate lands on the south side of the river between Huntley and Pompeys Pillar, Montana. The gravity distribution system extends from the intake of the Main Canal at the diversion dam on the Yellowstone River, in a northeasterly direction for about 32 miles. At mile 13.77, a 35-foot drop in the Main Canal is utilized to lift water into the High Line Canal, which originates at this point. Two-thirds of the 300-cubic-foot-per-second capacity of the Main Canal at the pumps drops through the turbines and develops sufficient power to lift the remaining 100 cubic feet per second to the High Line Canal. An auxiliary 150-horsepower electric pump was installed in 1975 to lift approximately 25 cubic feet per second to the High Line Canal. Anita Reservoir is filled during slack periods with water delivered through the High Line Canal to supplement the supply from the hydraulic pumps during periods of heavy demand.

Water is released from Anita Reservoir into the Reservoir Canal, which flows across Fly Creek to the vicinity of Pompeys Pillar. The High Line Extension Canal diverts from the High Line Canal through a siphon crossing at the downstream toe of Anita Dam to irrigate lands above the Reservoir Canal as far as Fly Creek.

Facility Descriptions
Main Canal and Distribution System

The inlet to the Main Canal of the Huntley Project is located near a 10.5-foot-high diversion dam in the Yellowstone River about 2.5 miles west of Huntley. The Main Canal is about 32 miles long with an operating capacity of 730 cubic feet per second. Three diversion points supply the canal. The Main Canal headworks and auxiliary headworks are located near the Yellowstone River Diversion Dam and a diversion from Pryor Creek is located on the Main Canal 1.8 miles downstream from the dam. This canal extends in a northeasterly direction and passes through several deep rock cuts and three tunnels.

The distribution system includes 202 miles of laterals an 186.5 miles of drains.

Pumping Plant

About 1 mile east of Ballantine, a 35-foot drop in the Main Canal develops energy to lift water 42 feet for the irrigation of approximately 5,000 acres of otherwise nonirrigable land. There are two direct-connected turbines and pumps, each capable of delivering about 50 cubic feet second. The pumping plant is semiautomatic in operation, requiring only occasional checking by a ditchrider.

Anita Dam and Reservoir

Anita Dam was not required in the original project plan. Subsequent development of additional lands by local interests necessitated its construction for hold-over storage of water lifted by the turbine-driven pumps during slack periods to reduce the extensive operating time of the pumps. This offstream storage dam was completed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in 1937. The dam is an earth structure, 42 feet high with a volume of 143,000 cubic yards, located 1 mile southeast of the Anita Railroad Station. The combination spillway wasteway adjoining the High Line Canal on the north abutment is a concrete-lined chute 40 feet wide with a capacity of 1,500 cubic feet per second. The dam impounds a reservoir with a capacity of 400 acre-feet.

Rehabilitation and Betterment of the Yellowstone River Diversion Dam

An inspection of the Yellowstone River Diversion Dam in 1956 revealed a crack in the dam due to settlement. Extensive erosion of the streambed had resulted in undercutting of the dam foundation. On January 4, 1957, the Bureau of Reclamation and the Huntley Project Irrigation District signed a repayment contract to repair the dam. The repairs were completed in the fall of 1957.

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Development
History

As the first representative of the United States in the Upper Missouri Valley, Captain Clark of the Lewis and Clark expedition scratched his name and the date of July 25, 1806, on Pompeys Pillar, a large rock landmark overlooking the Yellowstone River. Later, the Yellowstone River became a route for traders, trappers, and pioneers. The earliest settlers in the district were the fur traders, then prospectors and other pioneers came to the area. Some of these people turned to agriculture, cattle raising, or other pursuits; some continued to mine. All contended with the difficulties common to western pioneer life.

The Crow Indian Reservation, established under the ratified treaty of May 7, 1868, included an area much larger than the present reservation. The lands in the Huntley Project, being within the reservation, were not subject to homestead entry and consequently remained undeveloped long after other fertile tracts in the Yellowstone Valley were settled. The cession of lands to the United States by the Crow Indians in 1904 included those in the Huntley Project and opened the way for irrigation and settlement.

Investigations

An act of Congress, approved April 27, 1904, provided that the Reclamation Service should make surveys and investigations for the irrigation of the irrigable area lying south of Yellowstone River and extending along the Bighorn River as far southeast as the Fort Custer military reservation.

Surveys began in August 1904, and in October 1904 the project was designated for early development. Detailed plans were prepared and reviewed by a board of engineers which, on February 26, 1905, declared the project feasible.

Authorization

The project was authorized by the Secretary of the Interior on April 18, 1905.

Construction

Construction began October 6, 1905. The first water was delivered in 1908. The Pryor Division was completed in 1908, the Eastern Division in 1914, and the Fly Creek Division in 1915. The High Line Canal was enlarged in 1917 from 60- to 100-cubic-foot-per-second capacity.

Initial construction of the project did not require a diversion dam since the Main Canal intake on the Yellowstone River was level with the riverbed. Development of additional lands by local interests requiring increased diversion necessitated the construction of a small diversion dam which was completed by the Huntley Project Irrigation District in 1934. Anita Dam and Reservoir were constructed by CCC forces and completed in 1937.

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Benefits
Irrigation

The principal crops are alfalfa and other hay crops, sugar beets, silage, irrigated pasture, and small grains. The project is a stabilizing influence on the livestock industry in the area, through the production of feed crops.

Municipal Water

The towns of Huntley, Pompeys Pillar, Ballantine, and Worden are served with Huntley Project water.

Recreation, Fish & Wildlife

Anita Dam and Reservoir are located 6 miles southeast of Ballantine, Montana near Billings. This offstream storage dam was completed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1937. Water is released from Anita Reservoir into the Reservoir Canal which flows across Fly Creek to the vicinity of Pompeys Pillar. As the first representative of the United States in the Upper Missouri Valley, Captain Clark of the Lewis and Clark expedition scratched his name and the date of July 25, 1806 on Pompeys Pillar, a large rock landmark overlooking the Yellowstone River. The Crow Indian Reservation and the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument are nearby. The Anita Reservoir, with 32 surface acres and 2 miles of shoreline, offers seasonal opportunities for crappie, catfish, and largemouth bass. No facilities are available. For specific information about fishing and other recreation opportunities, please visit Anita Dam.

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Last updated: May 10, 2011