US Army Corps of Engineers
Los Angeles District Website

Fact Sheet

Dam Safety Program

Pine Canyon Dam

Published July 26, 2012
Aerial view of Pine Canyon Dam

Aerial view of Pine Canyon Dam

Location and Description

Pine Canyon Dam is a flood risk reduction project located within Pine Canyon in Lincoln County, Nev., about 18 miles southeast of Caliente and 100 miles northeast of Las Vegas.

The drainage area behind the dam totals 45 square miles, and consists mostly of rolling hills and narrow valleys.

Construction of the dam was completed in 1957.

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

Pine Canyon Dam received a Dam Safety Action Class IV, or DSAC IV, rating in September 2009 based on a Screening Portfolio Risk Analysis, or SPRA, completed in March 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.

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

·        Failure from embankment seepage and piping.

·        Failure from seepage and piping along outlet conduit.

·        Failure from erosion due to overtopping at the Project Maximum Flood event.

·       Failure from erosion at the spillway under extreme flow event.

As a result of Pine Canyon 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 Pine Canyon 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.