Southern Utah News Articles
Jackson Flat Reservoir Dam nearly complete
After years of planning, and 19 months of construction, the last eight inches of compacted soils in the Jackson Flat dam structure will be placed in the next few days. Additional work on the pump station and other less critical items will be finalized in February, according to Ralph Eaton, Project Manager for Legacy Construction.
“It has been a struggle, but we are winding down,” said Eaton. “Of the 800,000 yards of dirt, clay, sand, and rock that compose the dam structure, we are looking at the last soil placement in the next few days.”
Jackson Flat Reservoir is an off-stream reservoir that will be fed by an existing diversion of Kanab Creek north of Kanab City.
The reservoir has a total storage capacity of 4,228 acre-feet of water, or 1.38 billion gallons of water. The added storage will more than double the amount of water available during the growing season for farms, residential yards and gardens, the Kanab High School Football Field, and potentially other recreational and public areas in the city such as the parks, and cemetery.
Completion of the reservoir comes, as Kane County is experiencing one of the driest winters on record.
“It is amazing what a year’s difference will make,” said Eaton. A year ago at this time, construction on the reservoir was at standstill due to the record breaking precipitation.”
Construction crews were able to work without weather delays through December and January. Although the dry weather has been advantageous to Legacy, it poses a discouraging season for the farmers and ranchers in Kane County.
Kane County Commissioner and Kane County Water Conservancy Board of Trustee Vice President Dirk Clayson has been a strong proponent for the reservoir and has worked hard to bring the project to completion.
Clayson recognized that, although the weather has been unseasonably warm and clear, it has left farmers wishing the reservoir was already full of water.
“It doesn’t look like we will be putting any water in the reservoir this winter as our farmers have already begun irrigating,” said Clayson.
The 24-inch supply line from the upper Kanab Irrigation diversion can add eight cubic feet per second of water or just shy of 16 acre feet per day into the reservoir. In 132 days, the reservoir will fill to 2114 acre-feet or 50% of capacity. There will be a 400-acre foot conservation pool and under normal operating conditions the reservoir can be maintained at over 50% capacity.
Water will begin to flow into the reservoir in the fall once the irrigation season is over, said Clayson. At capacity, the average depth of the reservoir will be approximately 28 feet, with a maximum depth of 40 feet. At capacity the reservoir will cover approximately 232 acres.
Although the KCWCD had no plans to impact any archaeological sites in the reservoir storage basin, the delay in filling the reservoir will allow for more time to complete the on-going archeological mitigation work being completed on the remaining sites. The lead archaeologist for the project is Kenny Wintch, who works for the State Institutional Trust Lands Administration.
“Knowing that water will not be in the reservoir until fall will give me more time to ensure that no sites or human remains will be missed,” said Wintch.
Wintch and his team have already uncovered multiple pit homes, and artifacts of peoples who occupied the area ranging from 300 to 5,000 years ago. KCWCD has set aside two conservation sights where all discovered human remains will be placed for final re-internment. These sites will be fenced off for future public access.
A special Jackson Flat Recreation Committee has been meeting and planning for some months and has presented plans and maps of the site with their recreational proposals for the area surrounding the reservoir to the KCWCD Board of Trustees.
An on-sight museum to showcase some of the archaeological features discovered at the reservoir is just one of the recommendations of the committee, according to Kanab City Councilwoman Cheryl Brown.
“Whether you like to boat, fish, camp, hunt, ride horses, bike or hike, Jackson Flat Reservoir will be a place you can enjoy those activities with your family and friends,” said Brown.
A dedication ceremony for the project is planned for later this fall when water can be fully diverted to the reservoir. A test of the inlet structures and gate valves is scheduled for mid-February. Information will be available on the KCWCD website.
For further information on the project, contact the KCWCD office at 435-644-3997.