A small reservoir, present in the Fishlake National Forest for more than a century, is slated to get a new dam - a project that is expected to enhance fishing and other recreation.
A new 450-foot dam will increase storage from 100 to 220 acre feet at Farnsworth Reservoir, about 15 miles southeast of Salina, according to Dick Allred, Richfield District ranger. The reservoir was used to irrigate Gooseberry Valley for many years but is now abandoned and doesn't meet state or Forest Service standards.Allred said the old dam was about 300 feet long and 8 feet high. To repair it and bring it up to standards will require a dam height of 14 feet. This will deepen the water, providing more oxygen with less winter kill of fish. It will also stabilize the water at a constant level.
Farnsworth Reservoir has been an excellent fishery, Allred noted.
The additional water will cover up to 10 acres of sagebrush and grass as well as some conifer and aspen. The latter may be removed to eliminate future trash problems.
The ranger said the spillway will be constructed on the east side of the embankment, opposite from past location. This will minimize length before it connects with natural drainage.
The reservoir was built in 1885. Existing roads will either be upgraded to accommodate increased traffic to the reservoir, or they may be closed to vehicle use and access limited to walking or horseback.
For more information, contact Allred at 115 E. Ninth North in Richfield.