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

208-437-3133 (Main)

208-437-4617 (Visitor Center)

 

 

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 12, 2021

Lake Pend Oreille elevation at Hope: 2,052.86 feet
Albeni Falls Dam outflow: 16,000 cubic feet per second (cfs)

Current changes and highlights:
- Albeni Falls Dam outflow will decrease from 16 kcfs to 11 kcfs on Tuesday, April 13 at 10:00 PDT.
- Lake Pend Oreille elevation is expected to increase gradually within the 2053-2054 ft range this week.

The spring refill of Lake Pend Oreille began on Thursday, April 1. The planned operation for April is to target a lake elevation of approximately 2055 ft by the end of the month. The day-to-day rate of refill will vary based on changing inflows to Lake Pend Oreille. This week, the elevation of Lake Pend Oreille is expected to increase gradually within the 2053-2054 ft range.

Albeni Falls operations during May and June will be set according to observed and forecast conditions in order to manage flood risk. The Corps monitors snowpack and weather forecasts to determine timing to reach the summer operating range of 2062.0 to 2062.5 ft. In a typical non-flood year this summer range is reached in mid to late June. The current seasonal water supply forecast for April-July inflow volume is 84% of average.

Short term modeling forecasts are provided by the Northwest River Forecast Center.  Their projections for Albeni Falls Dam inflow, outflow, and the elevation of 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

More Information

Around the Project

Albeni Falls Dam Spillway in the Spring
Clark Fork Driftyard in the Fall
Park Ranger Andrew Huddleston Presenting an Interpretive Program at Springy Point Recreation Area
Osprey  in Tree Eating a Fish at Albeni Falls Dam
Moose Swimming in the Clark Fork Driftyard
Overhead View of Albeni Falls Dam
Fall Foliage at Albeni Falls Dam
Winter Shot of Albeni Falls Dam taken from Powerhouse parking lot
Park Rangers Participate in Safety Day at Idaho Hill Elementary
Park Attendant Overlooking Pend Oreille River at Site 13 at Albeni Cove