News Release Archive

Reclamation Releases Final Environmental Assessment on Repairs to the Paonia Dam Intake Structure

Media Contact: Lesley McWhirter, 970-248-0608,
Justyn Liff, 970-248-0625,

For Release: October 26, 2016

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – The Bureau of Reclamation has released the final Finding of No Significant Impact and Environmental Assessment evaluating if Reclamation will provide partial funding to the North Fork Water Conservancy District to make repairs to the Paonia Dam intake structure and bulkhead, part of the Paonia Project located near Paonia, Colo. Repairs are expected to begin in September 2017.

During construction, work crews and an excavator will be operating at the dam. Crews will dismantle the damaged upper concrete bulkhead of the intake structure and replace it with a modified aluminum trash rack and support members. These repairs are necessary to help ensure continuation of normal dam operations and water delivery to downstream users.

Prior to repairing the intake structure, increased turbidity downstream of the dam will be noticeable due to normal reservoir operations and drawdown. Turbidity will temporarily increase in Muddy Creek and the North Fork of the Gunnison River downstream of Paonia Dam, and sediment deposition will occur primarily in Muddy Creek from the dam to the confluence of Anthracite Creek until high flows begin the following spring.

The final Finding of No Significant Impact and Environmental Assessment are available online at

To learn more about the Paonia Project, upcoming repair work or sedimentation issues in the reservoir, visit our website at: You can also join our email list for project updates by clicking the “Contact Us” link.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier in the United States, and the nation's second largest producer of hydroelectric power. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @USBR.

Relevant Link:

Paonia Finding of No Significatnt Impact and Environmental Assessment

Paonia Project Website