Burnt River Project – Unity OR


In 1933, the Bureau of Reclamation, in cooperation with the State of Oregon, investigated the possibility of developing a storage structure on Burnt River to provide a late summer water supply. The project was constructed following the plan developed from this investigation.

The project was found feasible by the Secretary of the Interior on September 25, 1935 pursuant to section 4 of the Act of June 25, 1910 (36 Stat. 836) and subsection B of section 4 of the Act of December 5, 1924 (435 Stat. 702). Funds were provided by the President on August 13, 1935, under the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act, 1935, approved April 8, 1935. Unity Dam and Reservoir is operated exclusively for irrigation.

Reservoir clearing operations were carried out by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) from CCC Camp No. 42. Quarters for the CCC forces were constructed by the government in the spring of 1937. A force of 35 men reported to the camp in mid-June, and immediately began operations, working two shifts per day throughout the summer. By the end of the construction season, CCC forces had cleared 190 of the 227 acres to be cleared. The remaining area was cleared by CCC forces in early 1938.
Unity Dam, located about 40 miles southwest of Baker, Oregon, is a rolled, zoned earthfill-type structure, 82 feet high above its foundation. The dam contains 254,000 cubic yards of earth and rock. The original total capacity (1938) was reported at 27,000 acre-feet. A 1991 sedimentation survey estimated the total capacity at 25,500 acre-feet (active 24,970 acre-feet).

Source notes


Project originally submitted by Andrew Laverdiere on May 9, 2017.

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Location Info

Unity Lake State Recreation Site
Unity, OR 97884

Coordinates: 44.49348, -118.189124

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