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Mountain Park Project
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General Description| Plan| Development| Benefits
General Description

The Mountain Park Project provides a supplemental municipal and industrial water supply to the Oklahoma cities of Altus, Snyder, Frederick, and the Hackberry Flat Wildlife Mangement Area (WMA). The project also provides flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife and environmental quality benefits. Principal features are Mountain Park Dam, on West Otter Creek in Kiowa County about 6 miles northwest of Snyder, Oklahoma, two pumping plants, and an aqueduct system to service the three cities and Hackberry Flat WMA. Project facilities include Bretch Diversion Dam on Elk Creek in Kiowa County and Bretch Diversion Canal, which diverts and conveys Elk Creek flow into the watershed upstream from Mountain Park Dam to supplement the natural flow of West Otter Creek into Tom Steed Reservoir.

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Mountain Park Dam forms Tom Steed Reservoir, and regulates natural flows of West Otter Creek and diverted flows from Elk Creek to provide municipal and industrial water supplies for the cities of Altus, Snyder, and Frederick, Oklahoma. The water is conveyed from the reservoir to the project cities through an aquaduct system that consists of 38 miles of pipeline, two pumping plants, a chlorination station, and other appurtenant facilities.

Facility Descriptions

Mountain Park Dam is located just upstream of Snyder Dam, on Otter Creek near Mountain Park, Oklahoma. Snyder Lake was drained to accommodate construction of Mountain Park Dam, then restored upon completion of construction. The lake is maintained at sufficient elevation to provide a plunge pool for water released or spilled from the dam.

A thin double-curvature concrete arch flanked by concrete thrust blocks, Mountain Park Dam is 535 feet in length with a maximum structural height of 133 feet. This dam and the rolled earth East and West Dike embankments, which extend 10,311 feet and 13,235 feet, respectively, form the Tom Steed Reservoir. The reservoir has a total capacity of 117,825 acre-feet, an active capacity of 109,276 acre-feet, and a surface area at the top of conservation pool of approximately 6,400 acres.

The outlet works for Mountain Park Dam are in the left thrust block and include three outlet pipes, trashracks, fish screens, emergency and operating slide gates, and motor-operated gate hoists. A 42-inch-diameter, joint-use outlet pipe is provided to release water into the aquaduct system; an 84-inch-diameter flood outlet pipe and a 15-inch-diameter river outlet pipe are provided to release floodwater and small streamflows. The joint-use outlet to the aqueduct system contains two gated intakes at elevations 1382.0 and 1401.0 to permit selection of the level of the reservoir from which water is to he withdrawn; water from both levels May be mixed. This outlet also is provided with fish screens.

The concrete arch portion of Mountain Park Dam functions as an uncontrolled, overflow spillway. The crest is at the top of the exclusive flood control pool at elevation 1414.0, and is 320 feet long measured along the axis of the dam. Concrete piers and training walls at each end of the spillway direct floodwater into and over the crest. Floodwaters fall into a plunge pool energy dissipater at the toe of the dam. The spillway is designed for a maximum discharge of 38,300 cubic feet per second with the reservoir at elevation 1423.6 ft.

Bretch Diversion Dam is located on Elk Creek in Kiowa County about 24 miles northeast of Altus, Oklahoma, and about 15 miles northwest of Mountain Park Dam. The dam diverts flows from Elk Creek into Bretch Canal for conveyance into Tom Steed Reservoir by way of Noname Creek and West Otter Creek.

This concrete diversion structure has canal headworks and a concrete wing wall on the left abutment, stream control gates in the center section, and a rolled earthfill dike extending from the concrete structure across the flood plain 5,200 feet to the right abutment. The canal headworks include trashracks at the five-bay intake, and an 18-foot-square radial gate for controlling flows into Bretch Canal, which is designed for a flow of 1,000 cubic feet per second.

The stream control gates include two 27- by 21-foot spillway radial gates, one 10- by 21-foot sluiceway radial gate, and one 24-inch-diameter bypass gate.

The rolled earthfill dike across the flood plain to the right abutment contains a low grass-covered section which provides an overflow spillway with a crest length of 3,620 feet.

Bretch Diversion Canal

Bretch Diversion Canal begins at Bretch Diversion Dam and runs generally south and southeast to Noname Creek. The concrete-lined canal is 9.5 miles long and has a capacity of 1,000 cubic feet per second. Safety ladders are provided at 750-foot intervals; a safety net and cable are provided at each siphon inlet.

Aqueduct System

The aquaduct system is designed to convey water from Tom Steed Reservoir to the cities of Altus, Snyder, Frederick, and the Hackberry WMA, Oklahoma, for municipal and industrial use.

The Altus and Snyder Aqueducts are supplied with water from Tom Steed Reservoir through a joint- use pipeline that is 0.5 mile in length, and has a design capacity of 37.9 cubic feet per second. The pipeline conveys water by gravity to the Mountain Park rate-of-flow control station, where it receives primary chlorination and enters the Mountain Park forebay tank. Flow divides at the forebay tank; the water continues by gravity flow through the Snyder Aqueduct to the Snyder Terminal.

The Snyder Aqueduct includes 16-, 24-, and 27-inch pipe extending 5.5 miles to the terminal. The design capacity of Snyder Aqueduct is 9.8 cubic feet per second to the Snyder-Frederick Regulating Tank, at which point the capacity is reduced to 1.7 cubic feet per second, and the water is then conveyed to Snyder. The Frederick Aquaduct receives 8.1 cubic feet per second from the regulating tank at this point and conveys the flow through 16- to 27-inch pipe about 12 miles to the Frederick Terminal. Water for the city of Altus flows from the forebay tank to the adjacent Altus Pumping-Plant, where it is lifted to the Altus Regulating Tank. The water then flows from the regulating tank by gravity to the Altus Terminal, which includes a rate-of-flow structure and a terminal storage tank. The 20.6-mile-long Altus Aqueduct includes 36- and 39- inch-diameter concrete cylinder pipe and has a design capacity of 24.3 cubic feet per second.

Appurtenances to the aqueduct system include a chlorination station, rate-of-flow control stations, regulating tanks, telemetering systems, air valve and blowoff structures, and cathodic protection test stations at selected locations along the pipelines.

Altus Pumping Plant

The Altus Pumping Plant consists of four horizontal centrifugal-type pumps, three units plus one standby, driven by electric motors. The pumping plant building, constructed of precast concrete tees on a concrete foundation, also houses the electrical control center for automatic operation of the plant, and includes a chlorination room and chlorine storage room at one end of the building. Each of the pumps is designed for a unit capacity of 8.5 cubic feet per second against a rated head of 140 feet. The Altus Pumping Plant is unattended. A telemeter receives water level data from the Altus Regulating Tank and starts and stops pumping units automatically according to demand.

Frederick Pumping Plant

The Frederick Pumping Plant consists of four horizontal centrifugal-type pumps, three units plus one standby, driven by electric motors. The structure is similar to the Altus Pumping Plant except that chlorination facilities are not provided. Each of the pumps is designed for a rated capacity of 2.85 cubic feet per second against a rated head of 104 feet.

The Frederick Pumping Plant is unattended. A telemeter receives water level data from the upstream Snyder Frederick Regulating Tank and from the downstream Frederick Regulating Tank. The pumps start and stop automatically to satisfy downstream demand as long as sufficient water is available in the upstream Snyder Frederick Regulating Tank.

Operating Agencies

The agency responsible for operation and maintenance of the project diversion, storage, and aqueduct system is the Mountain Park Master Conservancy District. The Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department administers the recreation areas and the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation administers the wildlife management areas.

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Potential for development of the water resources of Otter Creek were recognized as early as 1903 when the Bureau of Reclamation mapped the Mountain Park damsite. In 1924, Reclamation investigated possibilities of developing Otter Creek for irrigation and reported adversely because of insufficient water supply from Otter Creek and excessive costs. A Corps of Engineers survey of the Red River Basin and tributaries was published in 1936 as House Document 378, 74th Congress, 2d session. No specific projects in the Elk or Otter Creek Basin were recommended for construction in that report. An unpublished report on the North Fork of Red River, dated July 1940, by the Corps of Engineers found that improvements necessary to alleviate flooding were not economically justified; that further irrigation studies should be deferred until such time as results of the W. C. Austin Project had been determined; that there was no need for stream pollution control, or for water supply facilities in addition to those existing or planned; and that improvements for hydropower and navigation were not warranted.

An inventory of land and water resources, needs and problems of the Red River Basin was initiated by the Bureau of Reclamation in1948. While these studies were underway, the Arkansas-White-Red Basin Interagency Committee was authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1950 to formulate a comprehensive long-range plan for development of the land, water, and other resources in those basins. Following establishment of the interagency committee, the investigation of the potential Mountain Park Project by the Bureau of Reclamation was carried out as a part of the overall basin study. The cooperative investigations undertaken by the various agencies resulted in a tentative plan which included the Mountain Park Reservoir on Otter Creek, a diversion dam on Elk Creek, a diversion canal between Elk and Otter Creeks, and distribution works to irrigate suitable lands near Tipton. The evaluated plan was found to be economically unjustified for inclusion in the overall basin plan.

In late 1954 and early 1955, expressions of interest in the water resources of Otter and Elk Creeks as a source of municipal and industrial water supply were received from the cities of Altus, Frederick, and Tipton, Oklahoma. As a result, a reconnaissance investigation of the Mountain Park Project was initiated early in 1955. The report did not advance a final plan for utilization of the water supplies that would be provided by reservoir construction.

In 1958, the cities of Altus, Frederick, Snyder, and Roosevelt expressed interest in a plan to obtain water from the Mountain Park Project. Detailed investigations of the project were initiated early in 1959.

In June 1961, a summary statement was prepared in advance of completing the feasibility report to provide a basis for the interested communities to participate in the project; the city of Roosevelt withdrew. The city of Frederick later withdrew from participation in the project because the long aqueduct system required would result in high water costs. The plan of development was therefore modified to exclude Roosevelt and Frederick, with identified users being limited to the cities of Altus and Snyder.

On August 24, 1962, a feasibility report was submitted. The Secretary`s report on the project was transmitted to the President on May 12, 1964, and authorized on May 11, 1966.

On August 20, 1969, the decree forming the Mountain Park Master Conservancy District was amended to include the city of Frederick, Oklahoma, and the plan of development was amended to include the Bretch Diversion Dam and Canal in the initial construction.

The final environmental statement was submitted to the Commissioner of Reclamation on April 13, 1971, and approval of the definite plan report was received June 22, 1971.


The Mountain Park Project was authorized by Public Law 90-503, September 21, 1968 (82 Stat. 853). This authorization included aqueducts to serve the cities of Altus and Snyder, Oklahoma. The authorization was amended to include an aqueduct to the city of Frederick, Oklahoma, by Public Law 93-493 (88 Stat. 1492), dated October 27, 1974.Public Law 103-434 dated October 31, 1994 added environmental quality as an authorized purpose to the project.


Construction began on Mountain Park Project in 1971 with the award of contracts for exploratory drilling, breaching Snyder Dam, warehouse and shop buildings, and minor contracts. Relocation contracts for power lines, highways, county roads, and railroads were initiated in 1972. Construction of Mountain Park Dam began with award of contract July 26, 1973, and was completed on June 20, 1975. Construction of Bretch Diversion Dam and Canal started with award of contract on September 12, 1975, and the work was essentially complete October 28, 1977.

Construction of the aquaduct system began with the award of contract for Altus Aquaduct and Pumping Plant on April 25, 1974; the contract was substantially completed on May 26, 1976. The contract for the Frederick Aquaduct and Pumping Plant was awarded August 5, 1976, and the contract was substantially completed at the end of calendar year 1979.

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No irrigation development is contemplated as part of the project.

Municipal and Industrial

Municipal water is furnished to the cities of Altus, Snyder, Frederick, Oklahoma and the Hackberry Flat Wildlife Management Area.


The Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department administers 6,100 acres on the east and south shores of the reservoir. Public recreation facilities on the east side include shelters, tables, grills, a comfort station, a boat launching ramp, and a swimming beach. The area south of the dam along Otter Creek offers picnic facilities and a bridge across the creek which leads to a nature trail through large cottonwood, ash, elm, walnut, and pecan trees.

The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation administers 5,150 acres of the west and north side of the reservoir area. Waterfowl and dove are plentiful, and other upland game species are increasing as more food and cover are developed. An extensive tree and shrub planting program continues to increase wildlife habitat. The reservoir is one of the best fishing areas in southwest Oklahoma, offering catfish, crappie, largemouth black bass, and other varieties.

For specific information about Tom Steed Lake click on the name below.

Tom Steed Lake

Flood Control

Tom Steed Reservoir will effectively control all floods of record at Mountain Park damsite (http://www.usbr.gov/dataweb/dams/ok20502.htm) and will protect areas downstream to the mouth of East Otter Creek. The Tom Steed Reservoir has 20,305 acre feet of capacity assigned to flood control. The Mountain Park Project has provided an accumulated $1,550,000 in flood control benefits from 1950 to 1999.

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Last updated: Apr 05, 2013