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Pennsylvania Raystown Lake Spillway Repair

This grant will provide funding to repair a concrete spillway and emergency gates surrounding Raystown Lake in central Pennsylvania.

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The spillway at Little Goose Dam in southeastern Washington state is seen in July 2022. (Getty/Melinda Crawford)
Snapshot
  • Project name: Raystown Lake Spillway Repair

  • Program: Inland Flood Risk Management Projects

  • Law: Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

  • Recipient: U.S. Army of Corps of Engineers

  • Investment amount: $20,655,000

  • City: Huntingdon

  • State: Pennsylvania

  • Congressional district: 13

  • Construction start date: The project has been discussed since 2019.

This profile is part of a project that finds and tracks the public and private sector investments generated or supported by three of the Biden administration’s economic laws. These laws make investments in the American people, helping to grow the middle class, lowering the cost of living, and setting up America to better compete and cooperate in the world. Pulling directly from several sources, this catalog provides users with publicly available information such as the number of jobs created, workforce training partnerships, and storytellers benefiting from particular projects, among other detailed information. The profile below expands on the economic, practical, and climate impacts of just one of the 35,000 investments that can be found in the Biden Administration Investment Tracker. It may be updated to account for future project developments.

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The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is providing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with $20,655,000 to repair infrastructure surrounding Raystown Lake. The lake is used for recreation and hydropower, and it also plays an important role in flood mitigation, preventing nearly $300 million in flooding damage since the dam was constructed in 1973. The dam cannot function properly without an efficient system, and all of these repairs will help increase the efficiency of the infrastructure around the lake.

Historical context 

  • “Raystown Lake is the largest lake located entirely in Pennsylvania and offers 8,300 surface acres of clear water surrounded by 21,000 acres of forested mountain slopes. Raystown is a multi-purpose lake used for flood damage reduction, recreation and natural resource opportunities, and hydropower.” – U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), March 31, 2022
  • “Raystown Lake is located on the Raystown Branch about 5.5 miles upstream from its confluence with the Juniata River. Water releases from the lake into the downstream river are partially controlled by two large tainter gates (45′ x 45′) at a gated spillway structure adjacent to the Raystown Dam. Reliable operation of these gates is critical for proper control of the lake elevation and protection of downstream public safety.” – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Digital Library, February 2019
  • “Construction of the dam and spillway were completed in 1973. Many of the systems that operate the gates are therefore nearing the end of their design service life. Rehabilitation or replacement of many components is required to ensure reliable long-term performance of this critical infrastructure.” – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Digital Library, February 2019
  • “The dam and associated infrastructure, as well as all land acquired for the Project, are federally owned and are administered by USACE. The Project is located on the Raystown Branch of the Juniata River in Huntingdon and Bedford Counties, Pennsylvania.” – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 2021
    • “The following are Raystown Lake’s congressionally authorized Project purposes as designated in the Flood Control Act of 1962: Flood Risk Management; Hydroelectric Power; Recreation; Fish and Wildlife Conservation and Mitigation.” – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 2021
    • “The Project offers flood protection to communities along the Juniata River including Mount Union, Lewistown, Mifflin, and Newport. Reducing flows on the Juniata River will result in the reduction of peak flows on the Susquehanna River at Harrisburg and below.” – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 2021
  • “Raystown Lake receives between 1.2 and 1.5 million visits per year.” – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 2021
  • Very detailed analysis, description, and maps of the reservoir and dam are available in the master plan.

Project summary

  • “For Raystown Lake, the Army Corps is receiving $20,000,000, bringing the project’s IIJA total funding to $20,655,000. The funding will be used to reconstruct slab joints in Tainter Gate spillway and perform concrete repairs. The Army Corps will also replace service and emergency gates.” – U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, March 31, 2022

Previous gate rehabilitation authorization:

  • As of 2019, the “project was authorized by the Flood Control Act of October 23, 1962, (Public Law 87-874) and is described in House Document No. 565, 87th Congress, second session.” – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, February 2019

Outcomes, improvements, and practical impact 

  • “The funding will be used to reconstruct slab joints in Tainter Gate spillway and perform concrete repairs. The Army Corps will also replace service and emergency gates.” – U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, March 31, 2022
  • “Raystown Lake has prevented more than $295 million in flood damages since its completion in 1973. Raystown Lake was authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1962, and was constructed and is managed by USACE Baltimore District for the purposes of flood-risk management and hydropower.” – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, March 18, 2021
  • “More than 1.5 million people visited the waterway this past year.” – York Daily Record, November 29, 2022

Climate impact

  • “The reservoir provides a diverse habitat for a variety of fish and other aquatic animals.” – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 2021
  • “The lake and surrounding lands host a variety of species throughout the year including the bald eagle, numerous migratory birds, large and small game species, and other non-game mammals. USACE works with state and federal agencies to ensure that habitat requirements for many of these species are being met.” – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 2021
  • “The wetland areas surrounding the lake provide habitat for green heron, willow flycatchers, red-winged blackbirds, as well as many waterfowl species in migration. … Several no-wake areas exist throughout the lake which allow migrating ducks to rest and feed.” – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 2021
  • “The National Fish Habitat Partnership named Raystown Lake one of 10 ‘Waters to Watch’ last year. … “‘What attracted the Raystown application and why I think it was important to have it featured on this list is that it is a huge recreation destination in Pennsylvania. There’s a lot of boaters, a lot of jet skiers and a lot of people who go there. More importantly there’s high angling usage,’ [Ryan Roberts, National Fish Habitat Partnership program manager] said. And preserving the habitat for fishing made it a ‘super attractive project’ to select.’” – York Daily Record, November 29, 2022

Official supporting statements

  • U.S. Sen. Bob Casey: “Water infrastructure plays a critical role in local economies across Pennsylvania, from Somerset County to Clinton County. … Thanks to the infrastructure law, more Pennsylvanians can live without fear of major flooding damage and local residents and visitors alike can enjoy our abundant natural resources.” – U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, March 31, 2022

Selected clips 

  • “Dam repairs, upgrades underway at Raystown Lake” – WJAC, September 13, 2022
  • “Casey Announces $46.9 Million for Western, Central PA Water Infrastructure Projects” – U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, March 31, 2022

The positions of American Progress, and our policy experts, are independent, and the findings and conclusions presented are those of American Progress alone. A full list of supporters is available here. American Progress would like to acknowledge the many generous supporters who make our work possible.

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President Joe Biden’s policies are upgrading America’s infrastructure, prompting a renaissance in American manufacturing, and accelerating the country’s transition to a clean energy future.

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