By December 1906 work started on the main canal and the diversion dam located three miles below the proposed site of the Magic Dam. This canal would divert water to the Alberta Lands Tract and lead directly to the town of Alberta (Alberta's name was changed to Richfield in 1908).
   In 1907, the Idaho Irrigation Company Limited entered into contract with the State Land Board for opening 40,832 acres of Carey Act Lands for the Alberta Lands and 70,000 acres for the Gooding Lands. Idaho Irrigation Company also entered into contracts between the State of Idaho for the construction of an irrigation system. The contract provided to construct a dam and reservoir, along with an extensive system of main and lateral canals. These were to be known as the Big Wood River Project.
   In March 1908, work continued on the "big ditch" which was later to be known as the Richfield Canal. After it was finished, work would begin on the canal system for the South Gooding Lands.
   On September 1, 1908 construction of the reservoir and the dam across the Big Wood River was started.
   Originally the Dietrich Canal route was planned through the Cottonwood Slough. The plan was changed in the Spring of 1909 and the banks of the Richfield Canal were raised to carry the water for the Dietrich Lands and South Gooding Lands. In May 1909, construction work on the Dietrich Canal was started. In November 1909, water ran in the Dietrich Canal for the first time. The distance was 6 miles.
   In May 1910, the first delivery of water for the Dietrich Tract was announced. This delivery was for the Idaho Irrigation Company's demonstration farm where the methods would be explained for the benefit of farmers from the "eastern states".
   The Idaho Irrigation Company built Magic Reservoir to a capacity of 172,600 acre feet. It was completed in 1910. The first water delivery was made in October 1910.
   In January 1911, construction of Magic Dam was completed and storage of water began. It was built at a cost of approx. $3,000,000 with the canals and laterals costing $4,000,000. All material that went into the construction of Magic Dam was freighted from Richfield by horses and wagons. The operator of the dam and canals was the Big Wood Reservoir and Canal Company, a corporation owned by Idaho Irrigation Company. At the end of the 1911 irrigation season, remaining water in Magic Reservoir was drained for inspection of the dam. 
   In 1916, Magic Reservoir was raised five feet which increased storage. Magic Reservoir at 14,000 acres stores water for 89,000 acres of irrigated farms near Shoshone, Richfield, Dietrich and Gooding. The dam rises 129 feet high and is 700 feet wide. An adjacent 1600 foot embankment with concrete spillway helps retain more than 191,500 acre feet of floodwater for summer use downstream.
   In 1921, settlers took over the operation and maintenance of the then Idaho Irrigation Company and changed the name to the Big Wood Canal Company.
   In 1924, after numerous short water years, another diversion 8 miles below the reservoir was constructed to divert water to North Shoshone Lands and North Gooding Lands. A By Pass Canal, 10 miles long, was built to save water by taking the water out of the Big Wood River channel. In 1925, the By Pass was put into use. The By Pass Canal joins into another canal , later to be known as the North Shoshone Main.
   It became evident after several years of low precipitation that more water was needed. In 1927, a contract was entered into between the Government and American Falls Reservoir District No. 2 for the construction of the Milner-Gooding Canal and for 4/17 of the storage capacity of American Falls Reservoir. In 1928, construction began and June 1931 water flowed for the first time in the Milner-Gooding Canal.
   We operate with two Board of Directors. There are nine members on the Big Wood Canal Company board and seven members on the American Falls Reservoir District No. 2 board. The Big Wood Canal office was originaly located in Richfield, Idaho and was moved to Shoshone, Idaho in 1922. The American Falls District office was located in Gooding, Idaho. On August 8, 1972 the American Falls office moved in with the Big Wood office in Shoshone. On the Magic side, which include 36,000 acres, the water is allocated on an acre foot basis. Based on 5/8" delivery per share, the User can draw from 0 t 150% of their allotted water or may store their water.   


"MAGIC DAM"

   Irrigation in Southern Idaho started in the Boise Valley. By 1863, lands immediately adjacent to the Boise River were being farmed. One year later, Idaho's first canal companies were being formed.
   Under the Desert Land Act of 1877, a settler could buy 640 acres of irrigatable arid land for $1.25 an acre - if he could irrigate his land within 3 years. This qualification often proved impossible to meet, since irrigation was costly and water often too far away. On April 1, 1877 water was first diverted from the Little Wood River where Gooding now stands.
   By 1890, when Idaho became a state, most of the lands adjacent to the Little Wood and Big Wood Rivers were taken up with irrigation found in many stages. You could find one-man digging his own ditch to irrigate land next to the river and several neighbors joined together to build community ditches, which they delivered water to their farms farther away from the river.
   In 1894, under provision of the Carey Act, arid states became entitled to select arid lands and to contract with companies or persons for the building of necessary reservoirs and water conduits for the irrigation of these lands.
   In 1899, a meeting of individual people concluded that the Big Wood Cottonwood Canal Company, Ltd. was to be formed. The main purpose of the corporation was to maintain a diversion located along the Big Wood River, to divert water to Marley and Northern Shoshone by use of the Cottonwood Slough. The diversion dam was known as the Cottonwood Canal Dam.
   In 1902 Congress passes the Reclamation Act, also known as the National Irrigation Law, where Congress decided to deposit monies received from the sale of public lands into a Reclamation Fund which would be used to build and maintain irrigation works.
   In 1903 the first land opening in Idaho was held in Shoshone. S.D. Boone, who spent a great deal of his time and money promoting Idaho, attended this opening. He had a habit of referring to irrigation water as "magic". He was elected Chairman of the Wood River Valley Irrigation Association. Lincoln county joined with Blaine county in talks about water rights and locations on where dams were to be built.
   On November 17, 1905 an announcement was made to build a reservoir on the Big Wood River. It would be opposite Tikura, a loading station on the Oregon Short Line Railroad. On November 25, 1905 Mr. F.P. King, Engineer, was completing his large survey map covering the land to be submerged by the backwaters of the dam. As requested earlier by Mr. Boone, he printed the name of the dam in large, black letters on the bottom of the map:    
Big Wood Canal Company's Water
and
The Establishment of the Company


      Big Wood History


BIG WOOD CANAL COMPANY

AMERICAN FALLS RESERVOIR DIST. NO. 2