East Sidney Lake Park History

Completed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1950

Although its primary purpose is flood control, the lake that results from the dam has become a unique recreation area and a draw for various birds and wildlife.

The East Sidney Dam, located in the northeast part of the Town of Sidney, was completed in 1950 to control the floodwaters of Ouleout Creek. It protects communities down stream like Unadilla, Bainbridge, Conklin and Vestal from high flood crests and potential damages associated with flooding. As a local side benefit, the dam forms a beautiful lake and setting that the Town of Sidney operates as a camping and recreation area. However, recreation was not the purpose for building the dam.

It was a series of floods in 1935 and 1936 across the nation that were critical in the passage of the Flood Control Act of 1936. The Dam is one of seven flood control structures in New York and Eastern Pennsylvania that were authorized by the Act of 1936 and built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Construction of the dam began in 1947 and after spending almost $6 million, the Dam was put into use in 1950. It is 2,010 feet long and 130 feet above the streambed. The middle section of the dam is concrete and the sides are earthen fill, with a with a spillway and five gate-controlled outlets in the concrete section.

A dam operator and assistant are on call 24 hours a day to regulate the outlet gates as directed during flood conditions. In the summer, the lake level is maintained at 1,150 feet above sea level, and its surface area is 210 acres.

The project is regulated in conjunction with Whitney Point Lake to provide flood stage reductions along the Upper Susquehanna River below Binghamton. The flood control benefits of the East Sidney Dam and the Whitney Point Dam accrue downstream, from the mouth of the Ouleout Creek near Unadilla, to the confluence of the Susquehanna and Chemung rivers near Waverly. The project controls a drainage area of 102 square miles, five percent of the watershed of the Susquehanna River upstream from Binghamton, exclusive of the separately controlled Chenango River. Flood damages prevented through fiscal 2014 are estimated at $287 million.

Although its primary purpose is flood control, the lake that results from the dam has become a unique recreation area and a draw for various birds and wildlidfe. Fisherman enjoy the lake’s largemouth and smallmouth bass, common carp, brown bullhead, rock bass and yellow perch.

For more information about the East Sidney Lake Dam, go to
U.S. Army Corp of Engineers