CNT supporting Millsite Dam rehabilitation efforts

01/31/2017 04:00 PM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
A photo from an unmanned aerial system in Emory County, Utah. Cherokee Nation Technologies is supporting the Natural Resources Conservation Service in its efforts to rehabilitate the Millsite Dam in the county. COURTSEY
EMERY COUNTY, Utah – According to a Cherokee Nation Businesses release, CNB subsidiary Cherokee Nation Technologies is supporting the Natural Resources Conservation Service in its efforts to rehabilitate the Millsite Dam.

CNT is using its experience in unmanned aerial systems to collect imagery and elevation data to advance the USDA-led project, the release states.

The release states the collaboration is expected to enhance the dam by ensuring it meets current safety regulations and engineering standards while extending its life by 50 to 100 years.

According to the release, UAS support is safe, efficient and the least invasive method of gathering data and protecting the area’s natural resources. The method gathers high-resolution infrared sensor and color imaging data.

The release states the NRCS previously assessed Millsite Dam and concluded it didn’t meet safety and engineering standards for a dam with such high-hazard potential, meaning improper operation or failure could result in a potential loss of life.

“This project is an excellent example of how private industry can collaborate with government agencies to implement cost-effective, safe and cutting-edge technologies,” Owen Unangst, CNT operating general manager, said. “I fully expect UAS technology to quickly gain momentum as a critical and effective tool for NRCS in its effort to support the nation’s agricultural community.”

The release states CNT’s UAS technology offers precise detection of vegetation types and individual plant species, including the potential presence of endangered plants such as San Rafael cactus. It also states CNT provided a point-cloud model demonstrating the dam embankment, spillway and channel, as well as a digital surface model covering 710 acres located around the dam.

The collected data can be used for archival comparison and monitoring as the structures age or should safety issues such as seepage or erosion develop over time.

Millsite Dam was constructed in 1971 for the purpose of irrigation, as well as municipal and industrial water storage, but it also offered the additional benefits of flood preservation and recreational activities.

The Ferron Reservoir and Canal Company, which sponsored the rehabilitation project, controls the dam’s reservoir and associated structures.

According to the release, CNT provides unmanned systems expertise, IT services and technology solutions, as well as management and support of programs, projects, professionals and technical staff. For more information, please visit


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