Kinzua Dam
The Kinzua Dam, in the Allegheny National Forest in Warren County, Pennsylvania, is one of the largest dams in the United States east of the Mississippi River. The dam is located 6 miles (10 km) east of Warren, Pennsylvania along Route 59, within the 500,000-acre (2,000 km 2) Allegheny National Forest. A boat marina and beach are located within the dam boundaries. In addition to providing flood control and power generation, the dam created Pennsylvania's deepest lake, the Allegheny Reservoir, also known as Kinzua Lake.

Construction
Authorized by the Flood Control Acts of 1936 and 1938, actual construction on the dam was begun by the US Army Corps of Engineers in 1960 and completed in 1965. The main purpose of the dam is flood control on the Allegheny River. Kinzua controls drainage on a watershed of 2,180 square miles (5,650 km 2), an area twice the size of the state of Rhode Island. Side benefits derived from the dam include drought control, hydroelectric power production, and recreation.

Engineering data
  • Length of dam: 1,877 feet (572 m)
  • Maximum height of dam: 179 feet (55 m)
  • Earthfill: 3,000,000 cubic yards (2,300,000 m³)
  • Concrete: 500,000 cubic yards (380,000 m³)
  • Penstocks (pipes through dam): Eight 5’-8” x 10’ discharge sluices and two hydroelectric penstocks, 15 feet (4.6 m) in diameter
  • Hydroelectric generating capacity: 400 megawatts
  • Construction Costs: $108,000,000


Economics
The total cost of construction was approximately $108 million. According to the US Army Corps of Engineers, Kinzua more than paid for itself in 1972 when tropical storm Agnes dumped continual heavy rains on the watershed, bringing the reservoir to within three feet of its maximum storage capacity. Downstream flood damages of an estimated $247 million was avoided. The dam at Kinzua has prevented an estimated $1 billion in flood damages since becoming operational.

Seneca Pumped Storage Generating Station
Immediately above the downstream side of the dam is the Seneca Pumped Storage Generating Station, a hydroelectric power plant using pumped storage to accommodate peak electrical load by storing potential energy in water pumped into an upper reservoir by using base load electricity, then reclaiming that energy when it is needed by allowing the water to fall back down and drive generators along the way.

Recreation
The Allegheny Reservoir and surrounding area have been opened up for a variety of recreational activities such as camping, hiking, snowmobiling and boating along the reservoir. The US Forest Service created four highly developed reservoir campgrounds, along with five primitive (boat to or hike only) camping areas. Several scenic overlooks with miles of hiking trails and information centers were also constructed along the reservoir. In addition, the Seneca Nation maintains a fully developed campground on their reservation at the northern end of the reservoir in New York.

Displacements

Native Americans
Construction of the dam legally condemned 10,000 acres of the Allegheny Reservation granted in the Treaty of Canandaigua (signed by President Washington), forcing relocation of 600 Seneca. In 1961, citing the immediate need for flood control, President John F. Kennedy denied a request by the Seneca to halt construction. The Seneca lost a 1964 appeal over the relocation of a four lane highway through the remaining portion of the reservation. A Pennsylvania land grant to the Seneca leader Cornplanter was also condemned. His descendants had already moved to Salamanca, New York, near the northern shore of the Allegheny Reservoir. In 1964, the American country singer Johnny Cash recorded the song " As Long as the Grass Shall Grow" (composed by the Native American folk singer Peter La Farge) about the Senecas' plight; the Seneca nation's owned-and-operated radio station, WGWE, plays the song at least once a week in remembrance. The folk singer Buffy Sainte-Marie also mentions the Kinzua Dam in her songs "Now That the Buffalo's Gone" (recorded in 1964) and "My Country 'Tis of Thy People You're Dying" (recorded in 1966).

Elimination of Corydon and Kinzua
The construction of the dam and the filling of the Allegheny Reservoir also necessitated the elimination of the small village of Corydon (1960 population: 165), which was located at the confluence of Willow Creek with the Allegheny River, the small village of Kinzua (1960 population: 458), which was located at the confluence of Kinzua Creek with the Allegheny River, and the hamlet of Onoville (in South Valley, New York, 1960 population unknown), among a few other small villages and hamlets. All residents were forced out through eminent domain and required to relocate. The creation of the dam also forced the displacement of Camp Olmsted, owned by the Chief Cornplanter Council of the Boy Scouts of America. The campsite had been located on bottomland along the Allegheny River but dam construction forced it to be moved up the hillside.