- Projects & Facilities
- Hyrum Project
Region: Upper Colorado Basin Region
Hyrum Project History (39 KB)
Bear River near Corinne, Utah (USGS)
Hyrum Reservoir, UT
Reclamation's Upper Colorado Region Water Operations
Palmer Drought Index Map
Explanation of the Palmer Drought Index
Reclamation Water Information System
The Hyrum Project in Northern Utah includes as its principal construction features Hyrum Dam, Dike, Reservoir, and Spillway, Hyrum Feeder Canal, Hyrum-Mendon Canal, Wellsville Canal, Wellsville Canal Pumping Plant, and appurtenant structures. The system stores and diverts water from the Little Bear River to furnish supplemental water supplies to 6,800 acres of privately owned and cultivated project lands.
Although fur trappers visited Cache Valley frequently from 1824 to 1856, actual settlement of lands now included in the Hyrum Project commenced in September 1856, when `Maughan`s Fort` was built at the site of the present city of Wellsville. From that time through the early 1860`s, settlement of the valley was rapid and communities were located on several streams where water could readily and cheaply be conveyed to the land.
Work moved forward at a steady rate. Preparation for construction of the earth dike began in early July, with placement of earth in the dike beginning the end of the month. Concrete operations also began in early July with placements in the Wellsville-Eastfield Canal siphon which passes beneath the spillway. Placements in the concrete cut-off wall began in early August, and lining of the diversion tunnel, which was holed through in late-May, began August 23. The first placement of embankment materials in the main dam began on August 25. The Little Bear River was diverted through the diversion tunnel on October 8. Embankment operations continued until early-December, when operations were halted due to cold weather. At that time, the embankment was almost 90% complete, although only about half the contract time had elapsed. Embankment materials were placed in 8 -inch layers and compacted by several passes of a sheepsfoot roller. When necessary, moisture was added to the fill to achieve the desired results. The completed embankment was covered with layers of rock on both the upstream and downstream faces. The outlet works were constructed in the diversion tunnel. The gate chamber, which is hollowed out of rock, contains two high-pressure slide gates. Installation of the gates began April 1, 1935. To clear the tunnel of water, a temporary gate was installed at the entrance to the tunnel. While the gates were being installed, the river began to rise at a rapid rate, and on April 23, it was necessary to open the temporary gate to lower the water level in the reservoir to avoid damage to the unfinished embankment. Delays caused by the high water, followed by the beginning of irrigation season which necessitated continued releases to meet irrigators needs, prevented completion of the outlet works until early-August. The contract for construction of Hyrum dam was accepted as complete on August 10, 1935.(9) Hyrum Dam is a rolled earthfill structure, 116 feet high and 540 feet long. In addition to the dam, there is an earth dike located about 800 feet northeast of the dam. The dike is about 15 feet high and 900 feet long. The spillway is located about 400 feet north of the dam. It is an open-cut, concrete lined chute controlled by three, 16 foot by 12 foot radial gates. The outlet works consist of a concrete lined tunnel, gate chamber with two sets of 33 inch square high-pressure slide gates, and two, 43 inch diameter outlet pipes leading to the outlet well which discharges into the distribution system. Hyrum Reservoir has a maximum capacity of 18,800 acre-feet (af) and a surface area of 475 acres.(10) Bids for earthwork on the distribution system were opened on October 11, 1934. As with the dam, the low bidder was J. A. Terteling & Sons. The contract for construction of the pumping plant, canal structures, and canal lining was awarded to Knowlton & Rupert on February 6, 1935. The pump and turbine were supplied by the Worthington Pump and Manufacturing Corporation. In addition, construction of some canal structures was carried out by Emergency Conservation Work (E.C.W.)(11) crews and by government force account.(12) Crews for Terteling & Sons began work on the earthwork contract in early-November 1934, completing work under the contract in mid-June 1935. Knowlton & Rupert began construction under their contract in late February 1935. Concrete placement in the pump plant began in late-March, and all work under the contract was completed by the end of August. Government work crews began work on canal structures in early May, with E.C.W. crews beginning work in September. The distribution system was finished in the spring of 1936.(13) The Hyrum Feeder Canal is 1.3 miles long, unlined, and has an initial capacity of 9 cubic-feet-per-second (cfs). The Hyrum-Mendon Canal is 14 miles long and is both lined and unlined. It has an initial capacity of 89 cfs. The Wellsville Canal is 5.4 miles long and has an initial capacity of 15 cfs. It is unlined. The Wellsville Pumping Plant as a single, 550-horsepower pumping unit with a pumping capacity of 16 cfs pumping against a dynamic head of 81-feet. Flows into the canals, penstock, and wasteway are controlled by slide gates.(14) During 1977, rehabilitation work was completed. The Wellsville Canal steel discharge line of the pumping plant was replaced by a 24 inch diameter reinforced concrete pipe buried in the same location. Rehabilitation of the Hyrum-Mendon Canal consisted of removing five steel flumes and replacing them with 42 inch diameter reinforced concrete pipe siphons. Major rehabilitation work initiated in 1990 was completed in 1995. The work included repair of concrete structures at Hyrum Dam, modifying and extending (raising) the outlet works intake structure, renovating the spillway gates, the outlet works pipes and penstock, the pump-turbine unit and gate control units. Also 2,430 feet of Hyrum Feeder Canal was placed in 24 inch diameter Polyvinyl Chloride (Plastic) pipeline. Earth lining was placed in 11,000 feet of the Hyrum-Mendon Canal and 1,000 feet of the Wellsville Canal. A Hyrum-Mendon Canal steel flume was removed and replaced by an earthfill section of canal Reservoir facilities are administered by the Utah Division of Parks and Recreation. Recreational activities include boating, fishing, picnicking, swimming, and walking. During fiscal year 1998 (July 1, 1997 to June 30, 1998), visitor days per month were: For specific information about recreational opportunities at Hyrum Reservoir click on the name below. http://www.recreation.gov/detail.cfm?ID=1188 Although there is no specific reservoir capacity assigned for flood control, the Hyrum Project has provided an accumulated $96,000 in flood control benefits from 1950 to 1999. When the first settlers entered the Cache Valley in the 1850s, they continued a tradition that was common in most settlements in the Utah Territory: irrigated agriculture. But at the same time, they became part of another tradition of western settlement, the tradition that, while early season run-off provided more than enough water for irrigation, lack of late season rains meant that many crops never reached maturity. The key to overcoming this situation was the construction of reservoirs to store spring run-offs for use in the late summer. A difficult proposition for water users who had little money for such endeavors. The Hyrum Project is located in Cache County in northern Utah, about eight miles southwest of the city of Logan. Hyrum Dam is located on the Little Bear River which runs through a valley known as Cache Valley near Hyrum, Utah. The river drains an area of about 220 square miles above the dam site. Project lands are located above the reservoir to the northeast, and along the west side of the river which runs northwest of the dam.(1) Evidence of early human activities in Utah clearly dates back more than 10,000 years. When the first Anglos entered the region around 1540, they found it inhabited by bands of Shoshone, Paiute, and Ute peoples, primarily hunter/gatherer groups surviving on small game and plants.(2) Tradition holds that the first Anglos to enter the region were a party sent by Francisco Coronado and led by Garcia L. de Cardenas in search of the legendary `seven cities of Cibola.` In 1776, two Franciscan priests, Francisco Silvestre Velez de Escalante and Francisco Dominquez, explored southern and central Utah. The fur trade of the early 1800s brought more explorers into the region, including Etienne Provost, Jedediah Smith, Peter Skeen Ogden, and Jim Bridger, who claimed to be the first white man to reach the Great Salt Lake in 1824. The first Mormons, led by Brigham Young, entered Utah in July 1847, settling in the Great Salt Lake Valley near the foot of the Wasatch Mountains. Upon settlement, the Mormons began plowing fields and constructing irrigation works. By providing food and aid to the Native Americans in the valley, the colonists were able to avoid many of the conflicts experienced by other Anglo settlers in the west. Only year after the first Mormon settlers arrived in Utah, the territory was ceded to the United States by Mexico in the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo. The following spring, the Mormons organized the State of Deseret, a territory that included all of Utah and Nevada, and parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, California, Idaho, Arizona, Oregon, and New Mexico. Congress ignored their state and formed the Utah Territory in 1850, naming it for the Ute Indians of the region. Brigham Young was named the territory`s first governor. Mormon settlement expanded north and south out of the Great Salt Lake Valley. In 1850, the population of Utah was about 11,000. By 1880, this number had reached over 130,000, all under direction of the Mormon Church. Following formation of the Utah Territory, the Mormons petitioned Congress for admission to the Union, but their request was denied. Five more times the Mormons asked for admission as a state, and each time, Congress rejected the petition - primarily due to the Mormon practice of allowing plural marriage. The practice of plural marriage had been a source of conflict between the United States Government and the Mormon Church for decades. In 1857, the Mormons were declared to be in open rebellion against the United States, and Young was removed as governor. Federal Troops were sent to Utah to enforce federal law and support the new governor. In 1862, Congress enacted laws to prohibit plural marriage and disincorporate the church, although this had little effect. Eventually, church leaders softened and began to change some church practices and customs. In 1890, the practice of polygamy was banned by the church, and in 1896, Utah was admitted to the union.(3) Settlement of the Cache Valley began in 1856 with the construction of Maughan`s Fort near the site of Wellsville. Settlement of the valley was rapid, and several communities developed, constructing irrigation works which diverted water directly from streams and rivers to irrigate thousands of acres of land in the valley. As with many other western settlements, seasonal fluctuations in precipitation made raising irrigated crops something of a gamble, particularly in years of below normal precipitation. The lack of storage reservoirs to trap the spring run-off for use during the late summer and early fall prevented further irrigation development and threatened existing developments. Creation of the Reclamation Service in 1902 gave hope to the farmers of the Cache Valley of aid in developing a reliable supply of water for irrigation.(4) Immediately following passage of the Reclamation Act of 1902, Reclamation began investigating the possibility of developing supplemental water supplies for irrigation in the Cache Valley. Following these initial studies, interest lagged until 1922, when the Department of Agriculture released a study of the land and water resources in the Cache Valley. This report renewed interest in irrigation development in the valley. In 1923, representatives of valley water users approached the Utah Water Storage Commission for assistance in developing a water resource development plan for the valley. Investigations continued off and on for the next decade before the Bureau of Reclamation released the report that would become the basis for project construction.(5) The Hyrum Project was initiated under provisions of the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933, and funds for construction were provided by the Public Works Administration in August 1933. The project received Presidential approval in November 1935, under provisions of two laws, the Act of June 25, 1910, which required Presidential approval for all new projects, and the Fact Finders Act of December 5, 1924, which required that all new projects be found feasible prior to authorization.(6) The project plan called for the construction of Hyrum Dam and Reservoir on Little Bear River to store run-off floods for irrigation use. Water released from the reservoir would flow from the outlet well through a 300 -foot long concrete flume to a structure for diversion into several different conveyance structures: the Hyrum-Mendon Canal, the Hyrum Feeder Canal, a waste way, and the pump plant penstock. From the dividing structure, the Hyrum-Mendon Canal would cross the valley in a 1000 foot long siphon then continue generally northwest for about 14 miles. The Hyrum Feeder Canal would cross the spillway in a concrete flume and run northward for about 1.3 miles, emptying into the lateral system of the Hyrum Irrigation Company. Water diverted into the pump plant penstock would drive the turbine connected to a pump to raise water to the Wellsville Canal. Just upstream from the pump, the penstock would split into two pipes, one to drive the turbine and one to supply the pump. The pump would discharge the water into a steel pipe which would carry it across the valley to the canal. The canal would be about 5.4 miles long and run generally westward. Water discharged from the turbine would be released into the existing Wellsville-Eastfield Canal to satisfy pre-existing water rights cut-off by construction of the dam. The wasteway would discharge into the Wellsville-Eastfield Canal to provide water when the pump plant is shut down.(7) Bids for construction of the dam and appurtenant works were opened on December 13, 1933. The low bid of $337,221 was received from J. A. Terteling & Sons. The contract was awarded in January 1934, with a scheduled completion date of August 8, 1935.(8) After several delays caused by difficulties acquiring the needed rights-of-ways, work at the site began on March 23, with clearing the dam site. This was followed a few days later by stripping of the foundation and the beginning of spillway excavations. Excavations for the diversion tunnel through the right abutment began on March 31. When the dam site was cleared, a cut-off trench was excavated to bedrock, and a concrete cut-off wall was constructed. The trench had a minimum bottom width of 25 feet, and paralleled the dam axis about 130 feet upstream, extending up both abutments. The cut-off wall rises 10 feet above the floor of the trench, and the areas under the wall were sealed by grout injected through pipes in the base of the cut-off wall. Construction of the project began on March 26, 1934. The first delivery of water was made available in July of 1935. Irrigation of project lands has greatly increased their productivity and has improved the general economy of the community. Alfalfa, wheat, barley, and pasture are the principal crops in the area. A large proportion of the farms are small and are owned by part-time farmers. To pioneers traveling west in search of mineral wealth or green pastures, the bleak and barren landscape of Utah seemed to have little to offer, and most continued on to California or the Northwest. It was for this very reason that a small group of settlers choose to locate their community at the foot of the Wasatch Mountains. The Mormons came to Utah because they believed no one else would want it and that they could practice their unique religion without fear of the persecution that had driven them from their home on the banks of the Missouri River.
Storage for the project is provided by Hyrum Reservoir, which stores the runoff of Little Bear River. Water for the irrigation system is diverted from the outlet works of Hyrum Dam. Three canals, Hyrum Feeder Canal, Hyrum-Mendon Canal, and Wellsville Canal, divert from this point. The Hyrum Feeder Canal extends north for about 1.3 miles and discharges into a lateral of the Hyrum Irrigation Co. The 14 mile long Hyrum-Mendon Canal crosses the Little Bear River Flood Plain in an inverted siphon and delivers water to lands on the southwest side of Cache Valley. The 5.4 mile long Wellsville Canal also crosses the Little Bear River Flood Plain in an inverted siphon. This canal receives its water from the Wellsville Pumping Plant and supplies water to lands on the southwest side of the valley which lie about 70 feet above those watered by the Hyrum-Mendon Canal. Water is made available to approximately 2,000 acres of project lands upstream of the reservoir by exchange. Hyrum Dam and Reservoir are located on the Little Bear River just south of Hyrum City. The dam is a rolled earth and rockfill structure containing 352,000 cubic yards of earthfill, 62,000 cubic yards of rockfill, and 13,000 cubic yards of riprap and gravel blanket, for a total of about 430,000 cubic yards of material. The construction period was 1934 to 1935. The date of closure (first storage) was April 1, 1935, and the first water was made available in July 1935. The dam has a maximum base width of 600 feet, a maximum structural height of 116 feet, a hydraulic height of 82 feet (from the streambed to the maximum water surface elevation), a crest width of 35 feet, a crest length of 540 feet, and a crest elevation of 4,680 feet. The maximum water surface elevation of this reservoir is 4,672.0 feet (top of the spillway radial gates). The dam is located near the southwest corner of Hyrum City and creates a reservoir with a total capacity of 18,685 acre-feet, and a surface area of 480 acres. The maximum capacity of the outlet works is 300 cubic feet per second (cfs) at a water surface elevation of 4,666.0 feet. Water flows from the reservoir through the outlet works in a concrete lined pressure tunnel, located in the right abutment, controlled by two sets of 33 inch square high pressure slide gates in the gate chamber. Two steel pipes continue to the outlet well. Prior to the construction of Hyrum Dam, a diversion dam diverted water from the Little Bear River into the East Field Canal. This canal does not receive project water because its primary water right is the water coming down the river. The outlet works has a capacity of 300 cfs, of which 113 cfs can be delivered through the Hyrum Feeder, Wellsville, and Hyrum-Mendon Canals for irrigation. In an emergency drawdown, the full 300 cfs flow could be returned to the Little Bear River. Hyrum Dike, a rolled earthfill structure, has a crest length of about 900 feet, a crest elevation of 4,683 feet, and a structural height of 15 feet. The dike contains the northwest part of the reservoir and is between the Hyrum State Park and the Hyrum Dam Spillway, both of which are located northeast of Hyrum Dam. The spillway consists of an inlet channel, an inlet transition, a gate controlled open channel with two bridge piers, a chute transition, a concrete chute with 1:1 side slopes on the walls, a stilling basin, and an outlet channel. The inlet transition is located approximately 900 feet northeast of the right abutment of the dam and at the west end of the dike. The effective length of the spillway is 1,108 feet. The crest elevation is 4,660 feet, and flow is controlled by three, 16 by 12 foot radial gates, with a discharge capacity of 6,000 cfs. The project is operated and maintained by the South Cache Water Users Association.
ContactTitle: Area Office Manager
Organization: Provo Area Office
Address: 302 East 1860 South
City: Provo, UT 84606-7317
OwnerTitle: Public Affairs Officer
Organization: Upper Colorado Regional Office
Address: 125 South State Street, Rm 7102
City: Salt Lake City, UT 84138-1102
OwnerTitle: Public Affairs Officer
Organization: Commissioner`s Office
Address: 1849 C Street NW
City: Washington, DC 20240
ContactOrganization: Hyrum Conservancy District
Address: PO Box 163
City: Hyrum, CO 81624