TAHOE CITY, Calif. (AP) — The first dam built to control the flow of the Truckee River as it tumbles down the Sierra Nevada out of Lake Tahoe has turned 100 years old.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and others are celebrating the Lake Tahoe dam’s centennial through the Labor Day weekend along with the 150th anniversary of Tahoe City, Calif., where the dam was completed in 1913.
The first dam at Tahoe was a rock-filled crib erected at the lake’s outlet in 1870.
The current one stretching 109 feet long and 18 feet high was authorized by Congress in the early 1900s as part of the Newlands Project designed to tap Tahoe’s waters to irrigate tens of thousands of acres of farmland east of Reno.
The dam next to the iconic Fanny Bridge — named after the view of the backsides of visitors leaning over for a glimpse of the large trout below — controls the level of the top 6 feet of Lake Tahoe equivalent to 732,000 acre-feet of water or more than 242 billion gallons.
It was the first of several dams that would be built to store water along the Truckee River system. Others created the Boca, Stampede and Prosser reservoirs.
“Having that additional storage was critical to how we look today,” former Nevada state archivist Guy Rocha told the Reno Gazette-Journal.
“Putting that dam in was really the first effort to try and control the flow of Truckee. That was the first dam built for that purpose,” he said.
The bureau kicked off a four-day celebration beginning Friday with a ceremony and unveiling of a memorial plaque at the Gatekeeper’s Museum co-hosted by the Truckee Carson Irrigation District and the Truckee Meadows Water Authority.
Local residents were invited to be a part of a commemorative town photo to be taken on Commons Beach at 2:30 p.m. Sunday.
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