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 U. S. 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 US.

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 of 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

May 24, 2023

Current conditions:

Lake Pend Oreille elevation at Hope: 2,057.74 feet
Albeni Falls Dam outflow: 59.7 cubic feet per second (cfs)
Changes and highlights:
•    On Wednesday, May 24, Albeni Falls Dam outflows will decrease to approximately 50 kcfs over two hourly changes beginning at 10:00 AM.
•    On Thursday, May 25, Albeni Falls Dam outflows will decrease to approximately 45 kcfs at 10:00 AM.
•    Lake Pend Oreille elevation is expected to increase gradually, reaching approximately 2059.5 ft at the Hope gage by the end of May.

The spring refill of Lake Pend Oreille began on Friday, March 31. The planned Albeni Falls Dam operation for the remainder of May is to target a lake elevation of approximately 2059.5 ft by the end of the month. Day-to-day rates of refill will vary based on changing inflows to Lake Pend Oreille.

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.

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

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