Conant Brook Dam is located about two miles southeast of the center of Monson, on the Conant Brook tributary of Chicopee Brook. From Palmer, the dam can be reached traveling four miles south on Route 32, then left on Wales Road.
Conant Brook Dam provides flood protection to Monson and communities along the Quaboag River. In conjunction with Barre Falls Dam, the project provides flood protection to communities along the Chicopee River. Construction started in June 1964 and was completed in December 1966, costing $3 million. About 1.3 miles of town road were relocated, and 0.3 mile of new road was added. Also included in construction was a new water supply well for the town of Monson. The project has prevented $3.3 million in flood damages since it was built (as of September 2011).
The project consists of an earthfill dam with stone slope protection 1,050-feet long and 85-feet high; a 980-foot long earthfill dike with a maximum height of 14 feet; a 405-foot-long ungated circular concrete conduit with a 36-inch diameter; and a concrete chute spillway with a 100-foot-long concrete weir. The weir’s crest elevation is 14 feet lower than the top of the dam.
There is no lake at Conant Brook Dam. The flood storage area of the project, which covers 158 acres, is normally empty and only utilized to store floodwaters. The entire project, including all associated lands, covers 471 acres. Conant Brook Dam can store up to 1.22 billion gallons of water for flood control purposes. This is equivalent to nine inches of water covering its drainage area of 7.8 square miles.
The Reservoir Control Center (RCC) at New England District Headquarters, in Concord, Mass., is the "nerve center" for New England flood control projects such as Conant Brook Dam. Using radio and satellite communications, the team constantly monitors river levels and weather conditions that influence flood control decisions. Water from flood control storage is released automatically as downstream river levels recede.
The project attracts approximately 20,000 visitors annually to its scenic trails for hiking, horseback riding, and cross country skiing. The project also offers three miles of stream fishing for state stocked trout along Conant and Vinica brooks. Seasonal hunting is permitted for state stocked pheasant and native rabbit, deer, and other small game.
For more information, or for recreation opportunities, call (508) 347-3705 or visit the website at: http://www.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/Recreation/ConantBrookDam.aspx.
- Updated: May 4, 2021