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of the Interior
The Kendrick Project (formerly the Casper-Alcova Project) conserves the waters of the North Platte River for irrigation and electric power generation. Major features of the project are Seminoe Dam and Powerplant, Alcova Dam and Powerplant, the Casper Canal and laterals, and drainage and power distribution systems. About 24,000 acres of irrigable project lands lie in an irregular pattern on the northwest side of the North Platte River between Alcova and Casper, Wyoming. Some features of the North Platte Project and the Kortes Unit of the Pick-Sloan Missouri Basin Program are interspersed along the North Platte River with features of the Kendrick Project, and these features operate together in the control of the river waters.
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The project is a multiple-purpose development that involves storage at Seminoe Reservoir and diversion at Alcova Dam to project lands. Operation of the reservoirs and powerplants is integrated with other river basin developments.
Seminoe Dam and Powerplant are on the North Platte River about 72 miles southwest of Casper, Wyoming. Seminoe Reservoir, with a total capacity of 1,017,279 acre-feet, provides storage capacity for the water to irrigate the project lands. The powerplant generates electric power as the water is released for irrigation or stored in Pathfinder Reservoir for later release as required. The dam is a concrete-arch structure containing 210,000 cubic yards of concrete and rising 295 feet above the rock foundation. Water is released from the reservoir through penstocks to the Seminoe Powerplant, or over a controlled spillway and outlet tunnel. The powerplant is located at the base of the dam, and has a rated head of 166 feet. The plant contains three units, each composed of a 15,000-kilowatt generator driven by a 20,800-horsepower turbine.
Alcova Dam is on the North Platte River about 37 miles downstream from Seminoe Dam and 10 miles downstream from Pathfinder Dam of the North Platte Project. The dam forms a reservoir from which water is diverted into Casper Canal for irrigation of lands in the Kendrick Project. The dam is a zoned earthfill structure rising 265 feet above its foundation, and containing 1,635,000 cubic yards of material. Water is released for other irrigation rights downstream through the Alcova Powerplant or over a controlled spillway. Alcova Powerplant was authorized and built after the completion of Alcova Dam. It is on the right bank of the river opposite the toe of the dam. The plant uses the 165-foot drop from the reservoir to the river for power generation. It consists of two units, each an 18,000-kilowatt vertical-shaft generator driven by a 26,500-horsepower turbine. The reservoir has a total capacity of 184,405 acre-feet, of which only the top 30,606 acre-feet is active capacity available for irrigation.
The irrigation distribution system for the existing unit (unit 1) consists of the Casper Canal, 59 miles long; 190 miles of laterals and sublaterals; and 41 miles of drains. Principal structures include the headgates located on Alcova Reservoir about I mile west of the dam; six concrete-lined tunnels having a total length of 3.4 miles; several siphons, and highway and farm road bridges; and many measuring and control structures. The main canal has a capacity of 1,200 cubic feet per second.
The power transmission system carries the energy generated at the hydroelectric powerplants to load centers in Wyoming, western Nebraska, and northern Colorado, and to interconnections with other Bureau of Reclamation power systems. The Kendrick Project power transmission system consists of 572.8 circuit miles of transmission lines and 6 substations and switchyards.
The Bureau of Reclamation operates all power facilities, Seminoe Dam and Reservoir, and Alcova Dam and Reservoir. All carriage, distribution, and drainage works are operated by the Casper-Alcova Irrigation District. The Wyoming Recreation Commission administers a portion of the Seminoe recreation areas; the Natrona County Road, Bridge & Parks administers the recreation areas at Alcova Reservoir. Grazing areas at Seminoe are administered by the Bureau of Land Management. The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission administers the Morgan Creek drainage area for wildlife.
In the early days of Western settlement, the main route for immigrants and traders was along the Platte and Sweetwater Rivers, crossing the Continental Divide at South Pass. Such well known trails as the Oregon, Mormon, Overland, and California, and the Pony Express, followed this route. Many stage stations, trading posts, and army forts were scattered along the trails. Fort Laramie and Fort Casper have been restored for their historical value. With the advent of the railroad in the late 1860`s, these trails began to disappear. The area was first used as open range, followed by homesteading, and then by irrigation farming. The general area is also rich in oil and mineral resources, which have played an important part in development of the State.
In 1904, the Reclamation Service first investigated lands now included in the Kendrick Project in connection with a plan to build the Casper Canal, one of several irrigation ditches along the North Platte River. In December 1904, application for a permit authorizing the desired water appropriation for this canal was made, but no further action was taken. Until 1933, the lands now included in the Kendrick Project remained part of the open range used by the sheep ranchers in the area. In that year, however, as a result of further investigations by the Bureau of Reclamation, the Public Works Administration allocated funds to develop irrigation and hydroelectric power facilities on the North Platte River in the vicinity of Casper, Wyoming.
The Kendrick Project was authorized by a finding of feasibility approved by the President on August 30, 1935. The Alcova Powerplant was authorized for construction on August 22, 1950, under the provisions of section 9(a) of the Reclamation Project Act of 1939. Originally known as Casper-Alcova, the project was renamed Kendrick in 1937.
Seminoe Dam was constructed during 1936-39, and first delivery of power from the powerplant was made on August 3, 1939. Construction of Alcova Dam was started in 1935 and completed in 1938. The first irrigation water was diverted into the Casper Canal on June 14, 1946. Alcova Powerplant started power production in July 1955.
Water was first delivered to 14 farms irrigating 600 acres in 1946. Settlement has progressed steadily, and in 1980 a total of 22,581 acres were irrigated on 64 full-time and 398 part-time farms. Principal crops are alfalfa, small grains, and irrigated pasture.
Alcova Reservoir and its surrounding lands provide excellent water-oriented recreation facilities. Recreational activities include camping, water skiing, boating, fishing, picnicking, and hiking. Seminoe Reservoir and its surrounding areas provide recreation opportunities similar to those of Alcova Reservoir, although the development of facilities is not as extensive and public access is not available to a large portion of the reservoir lands. The reservoirs are stocked with fish by the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission.
All electric energy is marketed through the Pick-Sloan Missouri Basin Program`s integrated system.
Although there is no authorized flood storage capacity at either Seminoe or Alcova Reservoirs, the active and inactive storage capacities of both dams contribute significantly to reduction of flood damages to downstream areas. The Kendrick Project has provided an accumulated $27,926,000 in flood control benefits from 1950 to 1999.