Bureau of Reclamation Banner
Moon Lake Project
Photo of Moon Lake Dam and Reservoir
Project Links
Project History
Project Data
Contact Information
Related Facilities
Related Documents
Moon Lake Project History (58 KB) (pdf)
General Description| Plan| Development| Benefits


General Description

The Moon Lake Project is in northeastern Utah on the north side of the Duchesne River about 140 miles east of Salt Lake City, Utah. The facilities of the project include Moon Lake Dam on the West Fork of the Lake Fork River; Yellowstone Feeder Canal extending from the East Fork of Lake Fork also known as the Yellowstone River, easterly to Cottonwood Creek, a tributary of the Uinta River; Duchesne River Exchange, involves water diverted from the Duchesne River and used by exchange with other rights as a supplemental supply to irrigate the lands owned by stockholders of the Moon Lake Water Users Association. The water rights of approximately 8000 acres in the Lower Lake Fork River area are the basis for this venture. This exchange supplies the Moon Lake Project with more than 20,000 acrefeet per year. This is accomplished by the Midview Dam and Dike which form an offstream reservoir; Midview Lateral which connects Midview Reservoir with the lower Lake Fork area; and the Duchesne Feeder Canal which carries water to Midview Reservoir and the Lake Fork River. The project provides supplemental irrigation water for 75,256 acres of land in Duchesne and Uintah Counties plus 10,000 acres under the Midview Exchange.

Return to top


The project stores water in Moon Lake and Midview Reservoirs to supplement the water supply for land along the Lake Fork and Uinta Rivers. The Duchesne Feeder Canal conveys water to the Midview Reservoir, and other canals and laterals deliver water to natural channels to improve the water supply at strategic points throughout the irrigable area.

Facility Descriptions

Moon Lake Dam

Moon Lake Dam is a zoned earthfill, rockfaced dam built just downstream from a naturally occurring lake known as Moon Lake. The original lake has an estimated capacity of 13,900 acrefeet. The dam has a structural height of 101 feet and a volume of 513,000 cubic yards. Moon Lake Reservoir, on the West Fork of the Lake Fork of the Duchesne River, has a total capacity of 35,800 acrefeet. The combined total of the original lake plus constructed storage is 49,500 acrefeet. The surface area of the lake is 770 acres at 8137 feet elevation. Construction of Moon Lake Dam started in 1935 and finished in 1938. Curb and parapet were added in 1940 and finished in 1941.

Yellowstone Feeder Canal

The Yellowstone Feeder Canal conveys water from the East Fork of the Lake Fork to the west branch of Cottonwood Creek. The canal has a capacity of 88 cubic feet per second and a length of 22.5 miles, which includes 2 miles of natural channel.

Midview Dam and Dike

Midview Dam and Dike form a 5,800acrefootcapacity, offstream reservoir about 12 miles east of Duchesne, Utah. The dam is an earthfill, rockfaced structure, 54 feet high, with a volume of 139,000 cubic yards. The dike of similar construction, has a structural height of 21 feet, a crest length of 2,575 feet and a volume of 86,000 cubic yards.

Duchesne Feeder Canal

Duchesne Feeder Canal conveys surplus water from the Duchesne River to Midview Reservoir and to lands along the Lake Fork River. The canal has a diversion capacity of 200 cubic feet per second and a length of 15 miles.

Midview Lateral

Midview Lateral conveys water released from Midview Reservoir to the U.S. Dry Gulch (Bureau of Indian Affairs) Canal for exchange purposes. The lateral has a diversion capacity of 80 cubic feet per second and a length of 9 miles.

Operating Agencies

Operation and maintenance of all facilities were assumed in 1938 by the Moon Lake Water Users Association. In 1967, the operation and maintenance of the Duchesne Diversion Dam and Feeder Canal and the Midview Reservoir and Lateral was assumed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Return to top



Prior to the arrival of pioneers in 1905, Indian inhabitants had established water rights for the irrigation of their lands throughout the Uinta and Duchesne River Basins. As the settlers began to irrigate, it became apparent that the flow of the streams was insufficient to satisfy the existing Indian rights and also to irrigate some 75,256 acres owned by the settlers.


Local interests made some investigations during 1922-1925. In June 1927, the Utah Water Storage Commission entered into a cooperative contract with the Bureau of Reclamation for the investigation and planning of the Moon Lake Project. A report of this cooperative investigation was submitted by the Utah Water Storage Commission to the Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works in 1933, with the result that an allotment was made available for construction.


Moon Lake Project was approved by the President on November 6, 1935. The project was initiated under provisions of the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 and an allotment of funds for construction was made on November 29, 1933.


On June 22, 1934, a contract was executed with the Moon Lake Water User`s Association providing for construction, repayment of cost, and operation and maintenance of Moon Lake Dam and appurtenant works. On December 7, 1935, the contract was amended to include Midview Dam, Duchesne Feeder Canal, and Yellowstone Feeder Canal. Construction was initiated on Moon Lake Dam on May 7, 1935, and was substantially completed on May 29, 1938. Midview Dam, Duchesne Feeder Canal, and Yellowstone Feeder Canal (except for 2.5 miles of the Yellowstone Feeder Canal constructed by the association) were constructed by Civilian Conservation Corps during 1935-41. The project has been in operation since 1938.

In 1989, the Moon Lake Water Users Association replaced the two, 36-inch needle valves with two, 36-inch hooded fixed cone valves.

Return to top



Principal crops produced are corn, grass hay, fruits, wheat, alfalfa, oats, barley, pasture and other garden varieties. These crops are used as feed for livestock, primarily beef cattle, sheep, and dairy cattle. Project water furnishes a late season supply, adding stability to farming operations.


Moon Lake Reservoir (http://www.recreation.gov/detail.cfm?ID=1192), high in the Uinta Mountains in the Ashley National Forest, is probably the most picturesque of Utah`s manmade lakes. Overnight lodging accommodations are available at a privately operated lodge with cabins. Camping, picnicking, and boating facilities are available. There is trout fishing and seasonal big game hunting on the adjacent area. Recreation management at Moon Lake Reservoir is under the jurisdiction of the United States Forest Service. During 1995, recreation use visits were 30,000.

Midview Reservoir is used locally for picnicking, swimming, boating, and fishing.

Flood Control

Moon Lake Dam and Reservoir (http://www.usbr.gov/dataweb/dams/ut10128.htm) carry no allocations for flood control; therefore, Reclamation has made no plans to provide formal flood forecasting services. However, it is common practice, due to design of the spillway, for the Moon Lake Water Users Association to adjust the reservoir outflow to protect bridges, river diversion structure plus other downstream facilities during peak flows. Although there is no specific reservoir capacity assigned for flood control, the Moon Lake Project has provided an accumulated $53,000 in flood control benefits from 1950 to 1999.

Hydroelectric Power

There is no hydroelectric power produced by the Moon Lake Project.

Return to top

Last updated: May 11, 2011