US Army Corps of Engineers
Pittsburgh District Website

Army Corps to reopen East Branch Dam with ribbon-cutting ceremony, open-house for public

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District
Published May 17, 2021
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The sun rises over the East Branch Clarion River Lake in Wilcox, Pennsylvania, May 1, 2021. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony followed by an open house event at the East Branch Clarion River Lake on May 27. The reopening celebrates the dam’s return to normal operations and its continued ability to reduce floods, improve downstream water quality and supports the environmental ecosystem. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District photo by Michel Sauret)

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The campground at the East Branch Clarion River Lake has four wooden cabins with electric available for rent beginning May 28, 2021, in Wilcox, Pennsylvania. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony followed by an open house event at the East Branch Clarion River Lake on May 27. The reopening celebrates the dam’s return to normal operations and its continued ability to reduce floods, improve downstream water quality and supports the environmental ecosystem. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District photo by Michel Sauret)

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Luke Losey fishes with his dog, Milo, on the East Branch Clarion River Lake in Wilcox, Pennsylvania, May 1, 2021. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony followed by an open house event at the East Branch Clarion River Lake on May 27. The reopening celebrates the dam’s return to normal operations and its continued ability to reduce floods, improve downstream water quality and supports the environmental ecosystem. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District photo by Michel Sauret)

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Luke Losey holds a smallmouth bass he caught on the East Branch Clarion River Lake in Wilcox, Pennsylvania, May 1, 2021. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony followed by an open house event at the East Branch Clarion River Lake on May 27. The reopening celebrates the dam’s return to normal operations and its continued ability to reduce floods, improve downstream water quality and supports the environmental ecosystem. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District photo by Michel Sauret)

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Michel Sauret poses for a photo to promote the campground reopening at the East Branch Clarion River Lake with camping sites available for rent beginning May 28, 2021, in Wilcox, Pennsylvania. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony followed by an open house event at the East Branch Clarion River Lake on May 27. The reopening celebrates the dam’s return to normal operations and its continued ability to reduce floods, improve downstream water quality and supports the environmental ecosystem. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District photo by Michel Sauret)

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Nicole Govan, a northern area ranger for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District, hikes along a newly-mulched trail at East Branch Clarion River Lake in Wilcox, Pennsylvania, April 30, 2021. The Pittsburgh District will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony followed by an open house event at the East Branch Clarion River Lake on May 27. The reopening celebrates the dam’s return to normal operations and its continued ability to reduce floods, improve downstream water quality and supports the environmental ecosystem. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District photo by Michel Sauret)

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The playground and picnic areas will reopen May 28, 2021, at the East Branch Clarion River Lake in Wilcox, Pennsylvania. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony followed by an open house event at the East Branch Clarion River Lake on May 27. The reopening celebrates the dam’s return to normal operations and its continued ability to reduce floods, improve downstream water quality and supports the environmental ecosystem. (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District photo by Michel Sauret)

WHO: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District

WHAT: The Pittsburgh District will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony and an open house at the East Branch Clarion River Lake to mark the completion of the cutoff wall construction and dam repairs that began in 2014. The event also marks the district’s plans to return normal pool levels per the lake’s Water Control Manual.

“Thank you to the Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District and everyone involved in the East Branch Dam project,” said U.S. Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson (PA15). “These renovations have been a massive undertaking and will continue to support dam safety and the Army Corps long-term risk reduction plan, while allowing our community and all its visitors to enjoy the East Branch Clarion River Lake for years to come.”

“I am tremendously proud of the partnerships we have developed and the tireless work by all involved over the last eight years to ensure the safety of the residents in this community.” said Col. Andrew “Coby” Short, the commander of the Pittsburgh District.

The open house will include interactive stations and displays to inform visitors about the reservoir and its campground. The ribbon-cutting ceremony will be limited to select guests and members of the news media in keeping with Center for Disease Control guidelines. The open house will be open to all visitors.


WHERE: East Branch Clarion River Lake, 631 East Branch Dam Road, Wilcox, PA 15870-9748.
Phone: (814) 965-2065. There is no requirement to RSVP for the open house.

WHEN: Ribbon Cutting: 10 a.m. – 10:45 a.m., Thursday, May 27.
Open House: 12 p.m. – 4 p.m., Thursday, May 27


MEDIA: We ask that news media professionals contact our Pittsburgh District PA office to coordinate their coverage at 412-395-7500/01/02 or via email: CELRP-PA@usace.army.mil.

INSTRUCTIONS: The open house is a free event, open to the public. Please wear close-toed flat shoes. Some surfaces on the dam and in other areas maybe uneven, slippery or have grading. No weapons permitted. Mask-wearing will be required for all visitors. We ask everyone to maintains social distancing whenever possible throughout the visit. Please do not attend if feeling ill or sick, but please come visit on a day when feeling better.

WHY: The open house will serve as an opportunity to inform the public on the purpose of the reservoir and dam repairs and construction that recently completed, which began in 2014. The Pittsburgh District’s reservoirs reduce the risk of downstream flood damage year-round and provides water flows downstream to improve river water quality during periods of dry weather.

WEATHER: Rain or Shine, both the ceremony and open house will go on. In the event of severe
weather forecast we will notify the public of event cancellation.

PROJECT STATUS: The Army Corps has completed the grouting program and installation of a full-depth seepage cutoff wall required to repair the East Branch Dam. The wall consists of 149 concrete panels, forming a minimum 18-inch-wide continuous vertical wall approximately 2,300 feet long with an approximate maximum depth of 250 feet through the existing embankment dam into bedrock.

BACKGROUND: Public safety is the number one priority of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Pittsburgh District conducted a risk assessment in 2008 that resulted in East Branch being recognized as having a high urgency for repair. As a result of this finding, the district implemented risk reduction measures that included lowering the summer and winter pool levels by 20 feet to relieve pressure on the dam.

The repairs included grouting operations, followed by installing 149 concrete panels into bedrock, up to 250 feet in depth. Throughout construction, the lake continued the project mission: flood control, water quality, fish/wildlife preservation and recreation.

Since its completion in 1952, East Branch Dam has prevented flood damages estimated to be more than $98 million, equivalent to $456 million in today’s dollars. During the June 1972 floods from Tropical Storm Agnes, the East Branch prevented more than $20 million in damages, equivalent to $139 million today. The average annual flood risk management benefits at East Branch are estimated at $6.5 million.

Now that the safety classification of the dam has been restored, the summer pool level will eventually return to 1670 feet (above sea level) for the first time in more than a decade. The lake’s water depth is 117 feet deep. Raising the pool level relies entirely on the weather and rain.

RESOURCES: For more information, visit; www.lrp.usace.army.mil

CONTACT: Public Affairs Office at 412-395-7500 or Email: CELRP-PA@usace.army.mil

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Contact
Michel Sauret
412-395-7500/01/02
412-209-8014 (cell)
CELRP-PA@usace.army.mil
1000 Liberty Avenue, 20th Floor, Suite 2003 Pittsburgh, PA 15222-4186

Release no. 21-008