The Seven Oaks Dam is a single-purpose flood control project constructed by the US Army Corps of Engineers, Los Angeles District. The project is located on the Santa Ana River in the upper Santa Ana Canyon about eight miles (13 km) northeast of the city of Redlands, in San Bernardino County. Authorization for the project is contained in the Water Resources Development Act of 1986. Construction was completed on November 15, 1999.
The project is planned to operate in tandem with Prado Dam, also located on the Santa Ana River 40.3 miles (64.9 km) downstream, to provide flood protection to Orange County. During the early part of each flood season, runoff will be stored behind the dam in order to build a debris pool to protect the outlet works. Small releases will be made on a continual basis in order to maintain the downstream water supply. During a flood, Seven Oaks Dam will store water destined for Prado Dam for as long as the reservoir pool at Prado Dam is rising. When the flood threat at Prado Dam has passed, Seven Oaks will begin to release its stored floodwater at a rate which does not exceed the downstream channel capacity. At the end of each flood season, the reservoir at Seven Oaks will be gradually drained and the Santa Ana River will flow through the project unhindered.