The Snake Creek Pumping Plant (SCPP), is an important feature of the Garrison Diversion Unit (GDU) Principal Supply Works. The SCPP was constructed between 1968 and 1976 as the primary facility for lifting Missouri River water from Lake Sakakawea to Lake Audubon to keep Lake Audubon at desired elevations for wildlife purposes.
From Lake Audubon, the water flows into the McClusky Canal, a structure designed to make water available to central and eastern North Dakota. The plant lifts water to maintain an elevation of 1,847 msl during the growing season, which permits gravity flow to the McClusky Canal and downstream. Each fall, the surface elevation of Lake Audubon is lowered approximately two feet to protect islands and other wildlife habitats from ice damage and erosion.
The plant contains three pumping units capable of delivering a total of 2,050 cubic feet per second (cfs). Pumping lift varies from 2 feet to 76 feet. The pumps have two separate bowls, one for lifts less than 35 feet and the other for lifts up to 76 feet. Each unit is powered by an 8,000 horsepower electric motor.
The original construction process of the SCPP took eight years with costs running the Bureau of Reclamation $19.2 million.
The facility is owned by Reclamation and operated by Garrison Diversion, through an O&M Agreement with Reclamation.