Location and Description:
Cartersville Dam is a six-foot high,
800-foot long irrigation diversion dam/weir
spanning the Yellowstone River at Forsyth,
Montana. The dam is approximately 235
miles upstream from the mouth of the
Yellowstone River and 165 miles upstream
from the Intake Diversion Dam. The dam
was originally constructed during the 1930s
and consists of a rock and willow structure
capped in concrete. The dam provides
head for gravity diversion to the
Cartersville Irrigation District.
Problem and Need: Cartersville Dam is a private irrigation dam owned and operated by
the Cartersville Irrigation District. The dam has been documented as a barrier to upstream fish
migration of Yellowstone River native warm water fish (including shovelnose sturgeon, blue
sucker, sauger, and burbot). The dam itself is also a safety concern for recreational fishermen
and boaters due to uneven crest and turbulence. The headgate structure, which diverts water
into the canal, is currently unscreened, and there is concern that native fish may be
unintentionally entrained into the canal. The Cartersville Dam has suffered some deterioration
due to age, high flow, and ice events. A multi-agency collaborative effort has been initiated to
work with the irrigation district to pursue fish passage and potential screening of the canal for
ecosystem restoration purposes.
Activities for 2015: Initiate the feasibility study by preparing the Federal Interest
Determination and negotiate the Project
Management Plan. Execute the Feasibility Cost
Share Agreement with the sponsor.
Issues and Other Information: Cartersville Dam is the second diversion dam
upstream from the mouth of the Yellowstone River, approximately 165 river miles above Intake
Diversion Dam. Other diversion dams upstream from Cartersville are somewhat smaller and
are believed to be only partial barriers to fish migration. Restoring fish passage at Cartersville
Dam would complement ongoing rehabilitation work at Intake Dam to provide unimpeded
passage from the Bighorn River confluence to the mouth, a total distance of over 300 miles.