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Posted 10/11/2016

Release no. 2016-097

Tim Dugan

CONCORD, Mass. – The communities of Huntington and Chester, along with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District and several other agencies and groups, observed the 50th anniversary of the construction of the Littleville Lake Dam project and the 75th anniversary of the Knightville Dam project in a ceremony on Oct. 8, 2016 in Huntington, Mass.

“This is a significant milestone for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” said Steven Lehmann, basin manager for the Lower Connecticut River Basin, of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, headquartered in Concord, Mass. "These flood risk management protection projects have protected the citizens of this community, the region and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for 50 years in the case of Littleville Lake and 75 years in the case of Knightville Dam."

Attending the ceremony included representatives from the towns of Huntington and Chester, and the cities of Springfield and Westfield, along with the Corps. Visitors had an opportunity to tour Littleville Lake dam and Knightville Dam. There were historical displays and films of past flooding events. Matthew Coleman, project manager for the Littleville Lake and Knightville Dam projects, was the master of ceremonies for the event and introduced the speakers and provided some historical background.


Construction of Littleville Lake dam, on the Middle Branch of the Westfield River in Huntington, was begun in June 1962 and completed in October 1965 at a cost of $6.8 million. The project stores Middle Branch floodwaters and helps to lower flood stages in downstream communities along the Westfield River. The project consists of an earth-fill dam with stone slope protection 1,360 feet long and 164 feet high. The dam can store an estimated 7.5 billion gallons of floodwater and has prevented damages to date of $152.8 million. More than 39,000 visitors annually enjoy the 1,567-acre Littleville Lake park for boating, fishing, picnicking, nature study, hunting, cross country skiing and snowmobiling.

Littleville Lake is a multipurpose reservoir, also serving as a backup water supply area for the city of Springfield.

Lehmann said that these dams are great examples of applied engineering and science successfully mitigating flood risk and damage, and adding immeasurable value to the region. The dams have protected downstream citizens in Massachusetts for 75 years in the case of Knightville Dam and 50 years in the case of Littleville Lake dam. They have proven to be a very successful investment of time and money, together preventing more than $490.8 million in flood damages since their construction.

Knightville Dam, on the Westfield River in Huntington, was constructed at a cost of $3.3 million. The 1,200-foot-long, 150-foot-high dam can impound a 49,000-acre-foot reservoir (equivalent to 15.8 billion gallons of water). Construction began in August 1939 and was completed in 1941. The project has prevented flood damages of $338 million. More than 41,000 annual visitors enjoy the variety of recreational pursuits available at Knightville, including picnicking, hiking, fishing, mountain biking, hunting, horseback riding and cross country skiing and snowmobiling in season. Most of the 2,430 acres of the Knightville Dam area is undeveloped.

In conjunction with Knightville Dam, Littleville Lake provides flood risk management protection to Huntington, Westfield, West Springfield, and other communities on the Westfield River. They also help to reduce flood damages along the main stem of the Connecticut River.

“We have enjoyed a long flood risk management protection partnership with the residents of this region and the state and I foresee that partnership continuing long into the future,” Lehmann said. “I hope our successors will stand right here some day to commemorate future anniversaries and envision an even greater future for the region and the Corps of Engineers, and for future generations.”

For up-to-date information on Littleville Lake call (413) 667-3656 or visit the project’s website at http://www.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/Recreation/Littleville-Lake/. For up-to-date information on Knightville Dam call (413) 667-3430 or visit the website at