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CPW Dam Safety
CPW Dam Safety
Williams Creek Dam, Hinsdale County

​​​​With over 120 dams, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) owns and operates the largest inventory of dams in the state of Colorado. The water impounded is used for purposes such as downstream irrigation, fisheries management and aquatic operations, and a multitude of recreational activities including fishing, boating and swimming.

Public Safety is Our First Priority

Public infrastructure and population centers are often located downstream, which increases the likelihood of devastating consequences in the event of a dam failure. Maintenance and rehabilitation of CPW’s dams is of paramount importance to CPW.

Identifying Upcoming Dam Repairs and Maintenance

In 2014, CPW undertook a Screening Level Risk Analysis (SLRA) to provide an overview of the condition of CPW dams and develop a repair and rehabilitation priority list. Since that time, CPW has made extensive progress on achieving those necessary improvements. CPW is currently working through an update to the conditional assessment and prioritization list, to update and enhance the SLRA (started in 2023 and planned to be complete in early 2025).

Funding Dam Repairs and Maintenance

The total maintenance and repair estimate for all CPW dams was $120.7 million based on the 2014 SLRA study. Since 2015, CPW has allocated over $103.9 million for dam safety related work. The 2023-2025 SLRA update is expected to re-prioritize CPW’s critical dam safety needs.

Progress on Dam Repairs and Maintenance

  • ​​Repair and rehabilitation construction was completed on several dams in 2023: 
    • Rito Hondo Dam Comprehensive Rehabilitation - CMGC project delivery
    • Alberta Park Dam Comprehensive Rehabilitation - CMGC project delivery
    • Deer Lakes Dams Spillway and Embankment Rehabilitations (in partnership with USFS)
    • Rio Blanco Dam Outlet Works and Embankment Rehabilitation
    • Beaver Park Dam Outlet Valve Repairs

Subsurface investigation at Meadow Creek Dam, Garfield County

  • Completed engineering studies and designs in 2023 include: Tarryall Dam Final Design and CMGC Pre-Construction, Meadow Creek Dam Alternatives Analysis and Preliminary Design, Garnet Mesa Dam (Sweitzer Lake) Spillway Alternatives Analysis and Preliminary Design, Big Beaver Dam (Lake Avery) Outlet Rehabilitation Preliminary Design. 

  • Engineering studies, designs and construction anticipated in 2024 include: Risk-Informed Prioritization of CPW's Inventory of High and Significant Hazard Dams (on-going), Statewide Hydrology Studies (on-going), Tarryall Dam Construction, Garnet Mesa Dam (Sweitzer Lake) Spillway Replacement Final Design, Meadow Creek Dam Rehabilitation Final Design and CMGC Pre-Construction, Upper Highline Dam (Highline Lake) Spillway Rehabilitation Preliminary Design, Big Beaver Dam (Lake Avery) Outlet Rehabilitation Final Design, Lake Christine Dam Slope Stabilization and Spillway Rehabilitation Design.​

  • ​Ongoing work continues for smaller-scale projects involving dam maintenance, improvements, and engineering studies.

CPW Dam Safety is always busy making our dams safer!  If you would like to track upcoming opportunities to partner with us, please check out our annual release of Upcoming Projects.

For more information on the CPW Dam Safety Program, see our Dam Safety Fact Sheet.