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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Albeni Falls Dam
2376 E. Highway 2
Oldtown, ID 83822


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Albeni Falls Dam

Albeni Falls DamAlbeni Falls Dam was authorized for construction under the Flood Control Act of 1950. This Act was signed by the United States Congress in response to a great flood that swept over the river valleys of the Columbia basin in 1948. Albeni Falls Dam was built from January 1951 to December of 1955 at a total cost of $34 million.

The dam is made up of two different parts: the powerhouse and the spillway. The powerhouse contains powerful turbines and generators that convert gravity-driven river water into hydroelectricity. The spillway can either store water for downstream power production and irrigation at other dams along the Pend Oreille and Columbia Rivers, or release water for upstream flood control. There is 136,000 cubic yards (61 million pounds) of concrete in the structure.

Today, it produces over 200 million kilowatt hours of electrical energy each year. When running at top capacity, the three Kaplan generators can generate 42.6 megawatts. That's enough power to supply about 15,000 homes. Bonneville Power Administration markets this electricity to customers primarily in the Pacific Northwest. This power production saves the United States from buying about 4.9 million barrels f imported oil each year.

Lake Pend Oreille (Ponderay)

Lake Pend Oreille is one of the largest and deepest natural lakes in North America. Spanning near 150 square miles, it extends through a glacially carved, U-shaped valley that separates three lofty mountain ranges-the Cabinets, Selkirks and Coeur d’ Alenes. Rimmed by these mountains that rise over 6,500 feet, the lake’s average depth is 545 feet, but in some areas plunges to a depth of 1,237 feet.

The shoreline of the combined Lake Pend Oreille and the Pend Oreille River is 226 miles. It’s length 68 miles, with a maximum width of 6 ½ miles.

The name “Pend Oreille” derives from the French name for a local tribe of Indians that wore pendant ornaments in their earlobes.

Flow Update

April 23, 2018

Lake Pend Oreille elevation at Hope: 2,053.9 feet
Albeni Falls Dam outflow: 41,800 cubic feet per second

Current changes and highlights:

- Albeni Falls outflow will continue to increase this week as inflow and Lake elevation increase.
- Projected Albeni Falls outflow range this week is 40-44 kcfs.

The current outflow from Albeni Falls Dam is ~42 kcfs; this is close to the freeflow capacity at the natural constriction between Albeni Falls Dam and Lake Pend Oreille.  Inflows to the lake are expected to increase this week, causing the lake elevation to rise and allowing outflow from Albeni Falls Dam to increase as well. Albeni Falls outflow is expected to increase within the range of 40-44 kcfs for Monday-Thursday this week.  Lake Pend Oreille elevation is expected to increase within the range of 2053.9-2055.0 ft this week.

The seasonal water supply forecast for April-July inflow volume is 145% of average, and snowpack in the Pend Oreille basin is above average. With the above average forecast there is the possibility that Lake Pend Oreille and/or Albeni Falls Dam releases could exceed flood stage.  The Corps is closely monitoring weather and snowpack conditions, lake inflow, forecasted releases, and the level of Lake Pend Oreille.  The Corps will continue to operate Albeni Falls Dam to minimize flood risk.

Short term modeling forecasts are provided by the Northwest River Forecast Center.  Their projections for Albeni Falls Dam inflow, outflow and the Lake Pend Oreille at the Hope gage can be found here:

Projections for future operations at Albeni Falls Dam can be found here:


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