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

208-437-3133

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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

Oct. 2, 2017 

Lake Pend Oreille elevation at Hope: 2,060.83 feet
Albeni Falls Dam outflow: ~ 17,000 cubic feet per second

Albeni Falls Dam outflows were increased from 17,000 to 20,000 cfs at 10 a.m. Monday. Outflow will increase further from 20,000 to 23,000 cfs at 10 a.m. Tuesday. This operation is part of the scheduled drawdown of Lake Pend Oreille from its summer operating range of 2,062-2,062.5 feet. This operation is intended to get the Lake to within a half-foot of the minimum control elevation of 2,051 feet by November 15, prior to when the kokanee are expected to start spawning. 

There are no limitations this winter for Flexible Winter Power Operations (FWPO).  People living or recreating around the Lake may see Lake Pend Oreille fluctuate between elevations 2,051 to 2,056 feet at the request of Bonneville Power Administration.  FWPO operations can start once the kokanee are done spawning through March 31.

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:
http://www.nwrfc.noaa.gov/river/station/flowplot/flowplot.cgi?lid=ALFW1

Projections for future operations at Albeni Falls Dam can be found here:
http://www.nwd-wc.usace.army.mil/nws/hh/www/pend_esp.html

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