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Building Strong® at Cougar Dam and Reservoir

Cougar DamCougar Dam and Reservoir is located at River Mile 4.4 of the South Fork McKenzie River, about 42 miles east of Eugene, Ore.

 

Cougar Dam is a rockfill structure with a gated concrete spillway that was completed in 1963 at a cost of $54.2 million. Since then, it has prevented about $452 million in potential flood damages. Cougar Lake has a storage capacity of 219,000 acre-feet and controls runoff from an area of 208 square miles.

 

Cougar Dam works in coordination with Blue River Dam for the purpose of flood risk management. Cougar Dam’s authorized primary purposes are flood risk management, hydropower, water quality improvement, irrigation, fish and wildlife habitat and recreation.

Click the small map icon (picture's lower right corner) for a larger PDF version.

Link to larger version of Cougar Dam map graphic

For more information

Cougar pamphlet 

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

Email us about Cougar

Willamette Valley Project images

Cougar hydropower

Generators / total output two 25 mw

Cougar project data

Dam length 1,600 ft 487.7 m
Height 452 ft 137.8 m
Elevation (NGVD*) 1,700 ft 518 m
Lake length 6 mi 9.7 km
Area when full 1,280 ac 518 ha
*National Geodetic Vertical Datum

Cougar recreation

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The project encompasses almost 5,000 acres and the uplands are managed primarily through an agreement with the Willamette National Forest.  The reservoir is a designated stop along the Three Sisters section of the Oregon Cascades Birding Trail.  This Trail is a self-guided auto tour of nearly 200 prime birding destinations in the Oregon Cascades.  American peregrine falcons have been observed around the cliffs above the lake.

external linkOregon Cascades Birding Trail

Operations: Cougar

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The project encompasses almost 5,000 acres and the uplands are managed primarily through an agreement with the Willamette National Forest. To mitigate impacts of Corps dams on Chinook salmon and resident fisheries within the McKenzie River basin, the Corps built the McKenzie Hatchery. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife maintains and operates the hatchery with funds from the Corps of Engineers and the State of Oregon.

 

In 2004, the Corps completed a temperature control tower for Cougar Dam, which improved downstream conditions for threatened fish species. Currently, the Corps is operating a new fish ladder and holding facility below the dam that allows biologists to collect adult fish from the river and transport them upstream to their natal streams.  The Corps also promotes resident fisheries throughout the McKenzie River basin through the continued support of Leaburg Hatchery and as a partner in efforts to recover bull trout and Oregon chub within the McKenzie River drainage.

 

Conservation season: April to November: None.
Flood season: November to March: Replace wire ropes and restrict pool to 1671 feet.

For more information, visit our Water page.