US Army Corps of Engineers
Rock Island District Website

District Projects

Saylorville Lake, Iowa

Published March 8, 2019

Operations Project Manager
(515) 276-4656 x6504

Saylorville Lake, Johnston Iowa

Saylorville Lake Project including the Big Creek Remedial Works is a multi-purpose project providing primary benefits in flood control and secondary benefits in low-flow augmentation, recreation, environmental stewardship and water supply. Storage volume at full flood pool is 626,465 acre feet. The main dam is located about 8 miles northwest of Des Moines, Iowa, on the Des Moines River and became operational in 1977.

The project includes: Saylorville Dam with Control Tower, Pneumatic Crest Gate Spillway with discharge channel and the Big Creek Remedial Works which includes: Barrier Dam with Pump Station, Diversion Dam with Control Tower, Diversion Channel and Terminal Dam/Spillway. Cumulative damages prevented since project became operational is  $416,296,000 (2018 $). The project includes 25,515 acres of fee title lands and there are 30 recreation area sites. FY18 recreation fee receipts and lease revenues were $910,500. Regional FY18 economic impact is $40,234,000 from an estimated 1,955,648 visitors.

Project is in operation.

Flood Control Act of 1958

Summarized Project Costs

Estimated Federal Cost  N/A
Estimated Non-Federal Cost  N/A
Estimated Total Project Cost  N/A
Allocations Prior to FY 2019  N/A
Current FY 2019 Allocation   $8,434,000


Major Work Item Current Year
FY 2019: 
Funds are being used for operation and maintenance of five flood control structures and related infrastructure; dam safety programs and activities; water supply contract administration and compliance; operation and maintenance of recreation areas & related infrastructure. These funds support management of the recreation program and providing a quality level of service to the public visiting recreation areas. Funds are also being used for environmental stewardship activities to protect the health, sustainability and integrity of the public lands associated with the project; & partnering with USFWS to establish an Urban Wildlife Refuge downstream of the dam.  Funds are also being used to complete work on the following non-routine items: Big Creek Diversion Dam control tower, construct a bulkhead for main dam, boundary line survey, maintenance & signage to prevent encroachments; design erosion control around FRM structures, remedy the effects of Emerald Ash Borer invasion, target tree removal and re-plantings, improve pollinator habitats; modernize recreation infrastructure.