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West Branch Reservoir drawdown planned: Upcoming Corps work at Colebrook River Lake to include repairs to hydraulic cylinders and position indicator rods

Published Aug. 1, 2019

CONCORD, Mass. – Repairs to the Hydraulic Cylinders and Position Indicator Rods at the Colebrook River Lake Dam on the West Branch of the Farmington River in Colebrook, Connecticut, will be completed under the terms of a $1,145,000.00 contract issued recently by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District. Work will be accomplished by Marine Diving Solutions, LLC of Aurora, Colorado. The contract was awarded on July 10, 2019.


The Corps anticipates construction will extend over a two-to-three month period in the summer or fall of 2019. Repair work should not greatly impact downstream water levels, activities and fish and wildlife habitat, according to Corps of Engineers officials.


Prior to this work, the Hartford Metropolitan District will draw down the West Branch Reservoir behind Goodwin Dam to about 580 feet over a period of about 30-35 days in order to do this work. It will remain at this level until construction work is completed and then slowly be raised to normal levels. The pool level behind the Colebrook Dam will remain at normal levels.


This drawdown will prevent hydropower production at Goodwin Dam during this period, but water will continue to be released downstream of Goodwin Dam for water activities and fish and wildlife habitat on the West Branch of the Farmington River. Once work starts at Colebrook Dam the Corps will continue to operate two of three sets of gates as needed. One set of gates will be closed by dropping a 9,500-pound bulkhead in front of the gates so work can be done. Each set of gates will undergo this same closure operation to make repairs.


The Hartford Metropolitan District Commission (MDC) is currently removing its turbines at Colebrook Dam and performing other work there. This work will be completed before Corps work starts.


Colebrook River Lake dam on the West Branch of the Farmington River was completed in 1969 at a cost of $14.3 million. At capacity, the 1,300-foot-long, 223-foot-high dam can impound a lake of 1,185 acres containing 16.56 billion gallons of water. To date, the project has prevented damages of $92.7 million. Recreational opportunities abound at Colebrook and include boating (with a launching ramp), fishing, ice fishing and hunting. Nearly 158,000 visitors enjoy the recreational pursuits at Colebrook River Lake each year. For more information Colebrook River Lake visit the website at



Additionally, information is available from the Corps’ New England District on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/CorpsNewEngland; on Twitter at http://twitter.com/CorpsNewEngland; and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/usacenewengland/. Or visit the District website at http://www.nae.usace.army.mil.


Tim Dugan

Release no. 19-069