high mountain lakes stabilization project
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Selection Marker ImageEarly Life in the Uintas
Selection Marker ImageIrrigation Developments
Selection Marker ImageHistoric Dam Construction
Selection Marker ImagePurpose of Stabilizing the High Lakes
Selection Marker ImageStabilization Process
Selection Marker ImageStabilization Process
Selection Marker ImageStabilization Process
Selection Marker ImageStabilization Process

The Central Utah Project Completion Act (CUPCA) authorized the Uinta Basin Replacement Project (UBRP) in 2000. The purpose of UBRP is to achieve greater water conservation and increase efficiency of beneficial uses of water within the Uinta Basin, in northeastern Utah.

The High Lakes Stabilization Project was a componenet of UBRP. Its goal was to stabilize thirteen reservoirs in three basins of the High Uintas Wilderness Area by breaching a portion of the dams and establishing “No-Hazard” levels and conditions. No-Hazard levels means reducing the risk of catastrophic damage from potential floods and dam failure by stabilizing the lakes to near natural levels.

Stabilizing these lakes was a particular challenge due to their remote locations. Specialists determined that for some lakes, the only safe way to complete stabilization in one season required use of mechanized and motorized equipment. Hence, to protect the surrounding wilderness, special approval was obtained from the U.S. Forest Service and equipment and materials were air lifted to the work sites via helicopter. Crews reached the sites by foot and horseback.








Generally, the stabilization process required removing stop logs, which were in place to reduce erosion and help maintain stability of the dams, and stone rip-rap facing that lined the outlet and upstream potions of each dam. A broad, v-shaped notch was then cut into each dam creating a channel at or near the lakes’ natural level. In this way, lakes could return to their natural hydrologic flow. Rip rap was then replaced along the breach and upstream portion of the new channel. Old headgates were removed and outlet pipes either removed or plugged; however, parts of each historic dam were left in place to preserve them as part of the local heritage.

Follow the links below (also in the menu above) for details on the stabilization process at each reservoir:

Stabilizing the Lake Fork Watershed
Brown Duck Basin

  • Clements Lake
  • Island Lake
  • Kidney Lake
  • Brown Duck Lake
  • Stabilizing the Yellowstone Watershed
    Garfield Basin

  • Superior Lake
  • Five Point Lake
  • Drift Lake
  • Bluebell Lake
  • Swift Creek Basin

  • East Timothy Lake
  • Farmers Lake
  • White Miller Lake
  • Deer Lake
  • Water Lily Lake
  • -
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