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Dexter hydropower

Generators / total output one 15 mw

Dexter project data

Dam length 2,738 ft 834.5 m
Height 93 ft 35.7 m
Elevation* 702.5 ft 214.1 m
Lake length 2.8 mi 4.5 km
Area when full 1,024.5 ac 415.2 ha
*National Geodetic Vertical Datum

Dexter pamphlet

Contact us about Dexter:
General: 541-684-4300
Recreation: 541-942-5631

Email us about Dexter

Dexter Dam & Reservoir

Dexter Dam

Dexter Dam is located at river mile 18 on the Middle Fork of the Willamette River, about 22 miles southeast of Eugene, Ore.

Dexter is an earth and gravel-fill embankment dam with concrete gated spillways. It was completed with Lookout Point Dam in 1954 at a cost of $88.2 million. Since then, it has helped prevent more than $5.3 billion in potential flood damages. Dexter Dam is located three miles downstream of Lookout Point Dam, and is used to regulate power-generating water releases from there.

Dexter Dam impounds a small reservoir, 27,500 acre-feet of water at full pool, and has one generator capable of producing 15 megawatts. Dexter's authorized primary purposes are flood risk management, hydropower, water quality improvement, irrigation, fish and wildlife habitat and recreation.

Dexter recreation

Birding: Dexter lake and shoreline lands total about 1,300 acres. The northeast shoreline provides a mosaic of quality wildlife habitat that supports migratory and resident songbirds, osprey and eagles. The reservoir is a designated stop along the McKenzie Loop of the Willamette Valley Birding Trail. This trail is a self-guided driving itinerary that includes 138 birding hot-spots.

Day-use parks: Dexter lake has three day-use parks. One, Orchard Park, is operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and has no associated fees. Orchard Park is is open from May 11-Sept. 9, and closed daily from dusk until 8:00 a.m. This minimally developed park is located on the northeast end of the lake and includes a vault toilet and picnic tables. There are no group picnic areas or shelters available for reservations. For more information, call the Willamette Valley Project Park Ranger Office at 541-942-5631.

Dexter Park and Lowell Park are operated by Oregon State Parks. Call the Oregon State Parks office at call 541-937-1173 or click one of the links for more information:Dexter Park; or Lowell Park.

Getting around

Dexter recreation map 

Environmental stewardship at Dexter Dam

Stewardship projects include wetlands restoration and management of invasive species. Restoration of degraded uplands, wetlands and streams on Corps lands is a central focus of the Willamette Valley Environmental Stewardship program. Recent efforts to improve habitat quality for wildlife on Corps’ lands in these areas center on replacement of exotic and invasive plants with native trees and shrubs, and restoration of hydrology and topography to support native plant communities and wildlife habitat.

To mitigate impacts of Corps dams on Chinook salmon and the Middle Fork of the Willamette River, the Corps constructed the Willamette Fish Hatchery near Oakridge and the holding ponds downstream of Dexter Dam. These facilities are operated by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife with funds provided by the Corps. Additionally, the Corps supports ongoing efforts for the recovery of the Oregon chub and bull trout within the Middle Fork Willamette River basin.

Flood risk management at Dexter Dam

Conservation season - April to November: Restrict pool elevation to 690 feet.
Flood season - November to March: Restrict pool to 690 feet.

For more information, visit our Water page.