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USACE to host Pipestem Dam open house in Jamestown, North Dakota, Nov. 1

Omaha District
Published Oct. 18, 2022

OMAHA, Neb. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District announced it will begin a multi-year project this fall to rebuild the spillway at Pipestem Dam near Jamestown in Stutsman County, North Dakota. Construction of a modified spillway and new additional features in the spillway area will reduce the likelihood of erosion should the spillway experience significant flow from the Pipestem Reservoir.

As this project begins, USACE Omaha District will host an open house to provide information about the purpose and operation of the dam, the spillway modification project, and flood preparedness.


Pipestem Dam Spillway Project

Community Open House

Tuesday, November 1

6 – 8 p.m.

Jamestown High School Commons

1509 Tenth Street NE, Jamestown, N.D.

Doors open at 6 p.m.

Presentation 6:15 – 6:45 p.m.

Learn more, meet the project team and receive emergency preparedness information. 

“The reconstruction of the Pipestem spillway maintains our commitment to help reduce flood risk and brings engineering solutions to conditions that could compromise the spillway’s reliability under extreme conditions,” Jeremy Thury, Pipestem Dam and Reservoir project manager, said.

Thury explained that the level of flood risk reduction for the downstream community from the dam will remain the same, but this work provides a reminder that while dams reduce risks to public safety and property from floods, dams cannot fully eliminate these risks. Even while the region is experiencing drier than normal conditions, it is always a good time to prepare for flooding. 


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers operates Pipestem Dam to reduce impacts from flooding on people and property in Jamestown, North Dakota, and further downstream in the James River Basin. USACE coordinates water storage and releases with the Bureau of Reclamation, who owns Jamestown Dam and Reservoir, about 6 miles east of Pipestem Dam and also in the James River Basin. While Pipestem Dam continues to reduce flood risk, it alone, or in conjunction with Jamestown Dam, cannot prevent flooding.

Operators store water behind the dams during periods of high runoff, most often during extreme storms when rain or snowmelt fill the reservoir. Water is released from the dams when flows in rivers and streams below the dams are lower. Water can flow through Pipestem Dam’s spillway if the need to release water exceeds the outlet structure’s capacity and water rises high enough in the reservoir. This spillway flow would be necessary to reduce the possibility of water flowing over the dam embankment which can lead to a dam failure. A failure would intensify downstream flooding, putting thousands of lives at risk and adversely impacting critical infrastructure.

The community is encouraged to explore these resources and to learn more:

Release no. 22-049