The Kinzua Dam and Reservoir Project was necessary. According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the dam was
[a]uthorized by the Flood Control Acts of 1936 and 1938, Kinzua Dam and Allegheny Reservoir is one of 16 flood control projects in the Pittsburgh District. The project provides complete protection for Warren, Pa., from Allegheny River flooding, and in conjunction with other projects in the District substantially reduced flooding in the Allegheny and upper Ohio River Valleys.
The reservoir provides water during dry periods. This helps to decrease pollution and improve water quality for domestic, industrial, and recreational uses.
The dam and reservoir also help maintain navigable depths for commercial traffic on the Allegheny and upper Ohio Rivers. Another important benefit of the dam is hydroelectric power; the power plant is run by First Energy Corporation and its peak capacity is 400,000 kilowatts per hour.
The necessity of the Kinzua Dam and Reservoir was dramatically demonstrated in 1972 the floods resulting from Tropical Storm Agnes when an estimated $247 million in flood damages were prevented. Since the dam's completion in 1965, Kinzua has prevented flood damages in excess of one billion dollars.
My husband Rick and I consider the Kinzua Reservoir to be one of our favorite places. Once we went on a boat trip with one of Rick’s co-workers, Kathy, and her son Jonathan. We had a ball that day gliding smoothly through the glassy cool water into private coves, nooks, and crannies that can only be reached by boat. We went as close as possible to the dam before turning around to head towards Wolf Run Marina for an outdoor lunch on the deck; here we fed dog food to the carp and ducks who live together in the water near the docks, scarfing up free food from children and childish adults.
Oh, how we laughed as the ducks sat on top of the swell of fish who had their big mouths sticking out of the water right into the air to receive the little round brown treats! On the way back to Onoville and our cars, Jonathan ran aground in the middle of the lake right in front of Cornplanters monument and when I asked, “What are we going to do now?” Jonathan answered, “We’re going to get out and push!” Say what?