Authorized by the Flood Control Acts of 1938, Shenango River Lake is one of 16 flood-control projects in the Pittsburgh District. The project mitigates flooding for the Shenango River Valley as well as for the Beaver and upper Ohio rivers. Since its completion in 1965, Shenango Dam has prevented more than $252 million in flood damages. The project has the capability to store the equivalent run-off of 10.5 inches of precipitation from its 589 square mile drainage area. Shenango River Lake’s flood-control benefits were demonstrated during the June 1972 flooding resulting from Tropical Storm Agnes when over $1.8 million in damages were prevented. Shenango also provides water releases during dry periods to improve water quality and quantity for domestic and industrial use, recreation and aquatic life.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission manages approximately 3,000 acres of project land for wildlife purposes, including a waterfowl propagation area. The Ohio portion of the project is managed by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources also for wildlife management.
History buffs will enjoy exploring the remnants of the Erie Extension Canal, sections of which are located on project property. The Erie Extension Canal played a key role in the economic development of Northwestern Pennsylvania. Portions of the canal’s towpath are maintained for hiking and are part of the Shenango Trail. The well-preserved remains of Lock Number 10 are found in Sharpsville, approximately one-half mile downstream of the Shenango Dam.