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Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The Big Hole diversion dam replacement project is complete.  On November 7, 2010 the city and county of Butte-Silver Bow finished the replacement of the 80-year-old diversion dam in the Dewey Canyon of the Big Hole River.  This diversion dam is used for pumping water from the Big Hole River to the city of Butte, Montana for a portion of the cities drinking water.    After nearly a century of existence, the diversion dam is no longer an impediment to fish and boater passage.

The old diversion dam and intake structure was outdated, and structurally failing, which has a threat to the River, and the ability for Butte to get one of their sources of drinking water. Over the years the dam has been the cause for flipping many boats as floaters tried to navigate over the concrete structure.  The new diversion has a rock weir dam, which has a boat and fish passage channel.  The spillway is designed for boater safety. 

The completion of the diversion dam on the Big Hole River is a great example of a community working together to improve a structure that benefits all uses.  Silver Bow County now has a better functioning diversion that ensures a source of their drinking water.  Recreationalists now have a safe, unrestricted passage in the river that promotes the health and migration of fish.