Paint Creek

“Paint Creek Lake is a flood control and recreation reservoir of 1,190 surface acres and 30 miles of shoreline constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The lake is a mainstream impoundment of Paint Creek in the Highland and Ross County portion of the Scioto River Drainage basin, and drains an area of 753 square miles. Dam construction began in 1967. Water was impounded in March 1974 and attained normal summer pool elevation by May 1974.

The dam is 118 feet high and 800 feet long. The spillway section of the dam structure contains three 57- by 37-foot tainter gates to permit additional flood control. The maximum water depth at the dam is 50-feet. The control tower on the upstream side of the dam has two 71/2 – by 501/2 -foot service gates to allow the water to pass through a conduit under the dam. Two low flow intakes, one at the 26-foot level and one at the 5-foot level, allow mixing of water at various temperatures so that the water which is released downstream will remain at normal temperatures with sufficient dissolved oxygen for the aquatic life.

The shoreline of the main body in the southern part of the lake is steep, with sheer limestone bluffs, and drops off rapidly to 30 feet of water. The limestone cliffs are prominent on the east side of the lake and up into the Paint Creek arm. The west side (Rattlesnake Creek Arm) is shallow and less steep. There are areas in the lake where trees and brush were not removed prior to impoundment. Along the shoreline, stumpy areas, large limestone rocks, and fallen trees provide cover for several species of fish.” ~ Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

The Paint Creek Basin was hit with catastrophic flooding in the early 1900s. Construction of the dam was authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1938. Construction of the dam began in 1967.

Construction was completed in 1974 with a total cost of $26 million. The primary purpose of Paint Creeks Dam, dike, intake structure, outflow, and emergency spillway is Flood Risk Management. This purpose helps reduce damages due to heavy precipitation to surrounding areas.

To date, Paint Creek Dam has prevented $342 Million in flood damages. Paint Creek Lake provides almost 10,000 acres of habitat for various wildlife, and the US Army Corps of Engineers is one of the leading providers for water-based recreation.