Owyhee Dam is a concrete arch-gravity dam on the Owyhee River in Eastern Oregon near Adrian, Oregon, United States. Completed in 1932
during the Great Depression, the dam generates electricity and provides irrigation water for several irrigation districts in Oregon and neighboring Idaho. At the time of completion, it was the tallest dam of its type in the world (it was surpassed about two years later).
The dam impounds the river to create the Owyhee Reservoir, with storage capacity of nearly 1,200,000 acre feet of water. The more than 400-foot (120 m) tall concrete-arch gravity dam is owned by the United States Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) and operated by the Owyhee Irrigation District. Haystack Rock Road is carried over the 833-foot (254 m) long crest of the dam.
Water stored at the reservoir is used to irrigate approximately 120,000 acres (490 km2) for use in farming. Four different irrigation districts utilize the water from Owyhee Reservoir. There are three hydro-power generating facilities at the reservoir added between 1985 and 1993, with seven megawatt and five megawatt turbines at the dam and power sold to the Idaho Power Company. Owyhee has a unique spillway located part way up the dam that utilizes a 60-foot (18 m) in diameter tunnel to send excess water to the river below during Spring run-off. The United States Bureau of Reclamation owns the facility, and the Owyhee Irrigation District operates the dam.
The most visually spectacular site is the “Glory Hole” spillway with its ring gate control mechanism.
The 60 ft. diameter crest of the spillway is located on a promontory in the east side of the reservoir, about 300 feet upstream of the dam. The ring gate consists of a concrete base and an operable, floating, donut-shaped gate. A control gallery and a float well are located in an adjoining concrete pier. The steel ring gate is hollow, and therefore buoyant, so it can float when the chamber fills with water from the reservoir. The Owyhee River below the Dam is very popular with fly fishers, with the fish average around 18 inches. The lake also provides excellent waterfowl hunting, and the surrounding hills and canyons offer many opportunities for the pursuit of upland game birds. A variety of wildlife may be observed in the reservoir area, including wild horses, bighorn sheep, golden eagles, pelican and cormorants.
- Did-ja-know how the Owyhee got it’s name?
In 1819, three Owyhees (Natives of the Hawaiian Islands) were detached from Donald MacKenzie’s Northwest Company’s expedition to trap on the river. When MacKenzie came back to meet them the next spring, he learned they had been killed by a band of Bannock Indians. The river and the country around it were named Owyhee for these men.
- And The fish we’re introduced when?
Browns were first introduced into the lower Owyhee subbasin in 1990
And how does it help our communities?
- Irrigation of crops $135 million
- Livestock Industry $81 million
- Recreation 155,000 visits-$4.2 million
- Flood Damage Prevented $657,000