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Fresno Dam Modification to Start and Tailwater Fishing Access Site Closure

Media Contact: Bryson Jones 406-247-7674
For Release: Apr 3, 2023

BILLINGS, Mont. ─ The Contractor selected to complete the Fresno Dam Safety Modifications, NW Construction, plans to begin mobilization activities the week of April 17, 2023. Initial site activities are anticipated to include mobilization of equipment and materials, installation of monitoring wells, and site preparatory work.

In response, Reclamation will be closing the Tailwater Fishing Access Site downstream of the Fresno Dam spillway on April 17 and it will remain closed throughout the summer until construction is shut down for the winter. There will be walk-in access to the river on the north side of the dam via the Fresno Tailwater Wildlife Management Area. 

The Fresno Dam Road along the crest will intermittently be reduced to one lane throughout the construction season but all reservoir boat ramps will remain open. There will be no impact to the reservoir water surface elevations this season due to the Project. 

Built in 1939 on the Milk River in north-central Montana, the 84-year-old homogenous embankment earth dam has experienced 710 feet of settlement since construction. Reclamation evaluated the risk associated with differential settlementdriven cracking and internal erosion and determined that a modification was required. To mitigate the risk, Reclamation will add a sand and gravel filter and toe drain system, with an embankment fill overlay and a vertical sand filter trench.

For project updates please visit or call Steve Darlinton at (406) 247-7322.

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