US Army Corps of Engineers
Los Angeles District Website

Fact Sheet

Dam Safety Program

Mojave River Dam

Published July 26, 2012
Aerial view of Mojave Dam

Aerial view of Mojave Dam

Location and Description

Mojave River Dam is a flood risk management project located on the Mojave River in San Bernardino County, Calif., approximately 14 miles south of Victorville and just downstream (north) of the confluence of the West Fork Mojave River and Deep Creek.

Mojave River Dam is an ungated flood control structure located on the northern side of the San Bernardino Mountains. The drainage area above the dam consists of about 215 square miles of mountainous terrain, drained by two main tributaries, Deep Creek and West Fork Mojave River, which converge just above the dam to form the Mojave River. In its entirety, the Mojave River basin comprises about 4,700 square miles of which 95 percent is desert. 

The eastern extent of the river is a dry lake bed near Baker, Calif. Nearly all of the surface water which reaches the Mojave River is contributed by the relatively small area above the dam. Mojave River Dam is the only flood control reservoir in the basin but the area above the dam does include Lake Arrowhead and Lake Gregory which are man-made recreation lakes. Also located in the basin is Cedar Springs Dam and its associated Silverwood Lake which is part of the California Aqueduct operated by the State of California Department of Water Resources and is used for both water supply and recreation.

Dam Safety Issues

The primary objective of the Corps’ Dam Safety Program is to maintain public safety by making sure dams owned and operated by the Corps are safe, and the risks to the public are minimized. An integral part of the program is the risk-informed screening process. Dams are classified based upon confirmed or unconfirmed dam safety issues, the combination of life or economic consequences should failure occur and the probability of failure. This process enables us to prioritize dam safety actions to correct deficiencies, which include interim risk reduction measures to be undertaken while further investigations are conducted and remedial actions are implemented.

Current Status

Mojave Dam received a Dam Safety Action Class IV, or DSAC IV, rating in December 2009 based on a Screening Portfolio Risk Analysis, or SPRA, completed in July 2009. A DSAC IV rating is given to dams that are inadequate with low risk such that the combination of life, economic or environmental consequences with a probability of failure is low, and the dam may not meet all essential USACE engineering guidelines.

Mojave Dam received a DSAC IV rating because of the potential for:

·        Embankment seepage and piping

As a result of Mojave Dam’s DSAC IV rating, the Corps has implemented the following Interim Risk Reduction Measures, or IRRMs:

·        No action required

What’s next?

·        No action required

Public Safety is Number One Priority

Public safety is our number one priority. While we cannot completely eliminate risk, we can reduce it. Our screening and classification of Mojave Dam does not mean that failure is taking place. It means we have identified dam safety issues that don’t meet industry standards and the risk to public safety is unacceptable. Routine inspections and operation of the dam will continue and emergency action plans have been developed in coordination with local emergency management officials. Currently, there is no evidence to suggest an emergency situation exists or is about to occur.


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers owns and operates 694 dams that serve a variety of purposes, including navigation, flood damage reduction, water supply, irrigation, hydropower, recreation, environmental enhancement and combinations of these purposes.  As part of our responsibility in managing these dams, the Corps has a comprehensive Dam Safety Program that has public safety as its primary objective. Corps dams are routinely inspected and continually evaluated for safety in compliance with the Federal Guidelines for Dam Safety issued in 1979 and Engineering Regulation ER 1110-2-1156, Safety of Dams – Policy and Procedures.