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Blizzard runoff delays Rapid City dam project

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RAPID CITY (AP) — Rapid City is postponing for a year a $3.7 million project to rebuild the Canyon Lake dam because of excessive runoff from an early October blizzard and other storms.

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The amount of water that drained from the Black Hills into Pactola Reservoir in October and November — more than 4 billion gallons — is the second-highest amount since 1956. Pactola Reservoir drains into Canyon Lake via Rapid Creek.

The early October blizzard that dumped as much as 4 feet of snow in parts of the Black Hills was followed by a warm-up that melted much of it.

"Once the Hills get saturated like that, they just continue to run water, even after it's melted off," city Water Superintendent John Wagner said. "There were a lot of streams running that hadn't run for a while."

The project to rebuild the 40-year-old dam at the fishing and recreation lake was to be completed by next June. Delaying it until June 2015 will raise the price tag only about $33,000, the Rapid City Journal reported.

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