Salt Lake City

Albion Basin visitors will see a rehabbed Cecret Lake dam

A repaired and improved Cecret Lake dam now on view in Little Cottonwood Canyon

The thousands of visitors who hike into Little Cottonwood Canyon’s Albion Basin this summer for the annual wildflower bloom will notice a rehabbed dam at Cecret Lake. In addition, they will likely encounter work crews performing the final construction activities and site restoration.

Salt Lake City Department of Public Utilities (SLCDPU) maintains the dam as part of its drinking water supply and watershed management responsibilities. Last fall, SLCDPU repaired the iconic dam, which dated to the 1930s.The dam was showing its advanced age and needed to meet modern safety regulations. 

“Cecret Lake dam had deteriorated to the point where we had to make repairs to protect public health and safety,” said Laura Briefer, Director of Public Utilities. “These improvements ensure water can continue to be stored safely and efficiently in the reservoir for decades to come.”

Updating the dam required the project repairs meet current state construction codes. Concrete and earthen materials were used to rehab the structure. Crews took strict precautions to keep uncured concrete from the water of the riparian area. The final step in construction will be to recompact the crest of the dam.

The rehabilitation work did not alter the height of the dam or size of the reservoir.

Several agencies collaborated on the project, either by reviewing and permitting the operation or as stakeholders in the Wasatch Canyons watershed. These include the Utah State Office of Dam Safety, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Salt Lake County Health Department, the Utah State Historical Preservation Office, Town of Alta and Alta Ski Lifts Corporation, and SLCDPU.

As stewards of the Little Cottonwood Canyon watershed, SLCDPU will follow best practices overseen by the USFS and pioneered by Alta Environmental Center to restore vegetation and the land surrounding the dam. Project completion and revegetation of the dam construction site will take place this summer and fall.   

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