US Army Corps of Engineers
Seattle District


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

September 18, 2019

Lake Pend Oreille elevation at Hope: 2,062.2 feet 
Albeni Falls Dam outflow: 14,000 cubic feet per second

At 1000 PDT on Wednesday 18 September Albeni Falls outflows increased from 13 kcfs to 14 kcfs.  At 1400 PDT on Thursday 19 September, Albeni Falls outflows are planned to increase from 14 kcfs to 17 kcfs.

This begins the scheduled drawdown of Lake Pend Oreille from its summer operating range of 2062-2062.5 ft, and elevation at the Hope Gage will remain above 2061' through September 28th for the HOP Regatta.  This operation is intended to get the Lake to within a half-foot of the minimum control elevation of 2051 ft by November 15th, prior to when the kokanee are expected to start spawning.  

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:


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