The Dalles Dam and Lake Celilo

The Dalles Lock and Dam was authorized by Congress for power and navigation in the 1950 Flood Control Act. The project was constructed between 1952 and 1957 near the city of The Dalles, OR, 192 miles upstream of the Pacific Ocean. Lake Celilo extends upstream of the dam for 24 miles to John Day Dam.

The Dalles Dam, Lake Celilo, and associated facilities are operated for Hydropower, Navigation, Fish & Wildlife, Recreation, Water Quality, and Irrigation.

Quick Facts

  • Stream: Columbia River (RM 192)
  • Location: The Dalles, Oregon
  • Owner: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District
  • Authorized Purposes: Hydropower, Navigation (1950 Flood Control Act)
  • Other Purposes: Recreation, Fish and Wildlife, Water Quality, Irrigation
  • Type of Project: Run-of-River
  • The Dalles
  • Completed: 1957
  • Height: 185 feet
  • Length: 2,640 feet
  • Features: powerhouse, spillway, navigation lock, fish passage facilities
  • Forebay Elevation Normal Operating Range: 157-160 feet msl
  • Spillway Capacity (max): 2,290,000 cfs
  • Generation Capacity: 1,780 MW, 22 Units
  • Hydraulic Capacity: 375,000 cfs

Authorized Purposes

The Dalles Dam has 22 turbine units and a total generating capacity of 2,080 megawatts.
The Dalles Dam navigation lock is the second of eight locks encountered in the Columbia-Snake Inland Waterway, a 465-mile river highway that allows barge transport of commodities between the Pacific Ocean and Lewiston, Idaho. The Dalles lock passes up to 10 million tons of cargo annually.
Water Quality
Water quality is monitored and managed consistent with Clean Water Act and state standards for the health of aquatic species. During spill for juvenile fish passage at the four Lower Columbia and four Lower Snake River projects, the USACE implements a Water Quality Program to manage total dissolved gas.
Popular recreational activities at The Dalles Dam and Lake Celilo include boating, fishing, windsurfing, kiteboarding, hiking, wildlife viewing, geocaching, camping, and more. There are several USACE-managed and state parks along the shoreline of Lake Celilo.
Fish & Wildlife
The Dalles Dam has two fish ladders—one on each shore—to provide a passage route for upstream-migrating fish, including adult salmon and steelhead, lamprey, sturgeon, shad, and others. Passage routes operated for downstream-migrating fish are the spillway and sluiceway.