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Building Strong® at Fern Ridge Dam and Reservoir

Fern Ridge Dam and LakeThe Fern Ridge Dam is at river mile 23.6 on the Long Tom River, a tributary of the Willamette River, about 12 miles west of Eugene, Ore.

 

Fern Ridge Dam is an earthfill structure with a gated concrete spillway and outlet works for regulating lake levels, which was completed in 1941 at a cost of $6 million. Since then, it has prevented more than $415 million in potential flood damages. The reservoir provides 110,000 acre-feet of usable flood control storage and controls runoff from a 275 square-mile drainage area.

 

Fern Ridge Dam was the first Willamette Valley dam constructed by the Corps of Engineers. Its authorized primary purposes are flood risk management, 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 Fern Ridge map graphic

For more information

Fern Ridge pamphlet

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

Email us about Fern Ridge

Willamette Valley Project images

Fern Ridge project data

Dam length 6,330 ft 1,929.3 m
Height 44 ft 13.4 m
Elevation (NGVD*) 379.5 ft 115.7 m
Lake length 4.5 mi 7.2 km
Area when full 9,000 ac 3,688.5 ha
*National Geodetic Vertical Datum

Fern Ridge recreation

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The Fern Ridge area is an excellent location for birding. Oregon’s largest breeding colony of purple martins can be found at Fern Ridge. Thousands of acres of emergent marsh support summer breeding habitat for a variety of water-bird species.

 

Day-use only, no fee for day-use area. Open May 10-Sept. 8, 2013; closed daily from dusk until 8:00 a.m. Located below Fern Ridge Dam off Clear Lake Rd., Kirk Park gives access to Long Tom River and ponds full of fish and wildlife. There are no reservable group picnic areas or shelters.

Amenities include:

  • Vault toilets
  • Trails
  • Picnic tables
  • Paved roads
  • Fishing dock
  • Fire rings
Four parks on Fern Ridge Lake are operated by Lane County:

For information about these parks, contact Lane County Parks Department at 541-682-2000 or visit http://www.lanecounty.org/departments/PW/Parks/Pages/default.aspx?p=1

For information about Orchard Point Park, contact Lane County Parks at 541-682-2000 or visit Lane County Parks' web page, http://www.lanecounty.org/departments/PW/Parks/Pages/default.aspx?p=1 or click the link below:

  • Orchard Point Park
  • For information about Perkins Peninsula Park, contact Lane County Parks at 541-682-2000 or visit Lane County Parks' web page, http://www.lanecounty.org/departments/PW/Parks/Pages/default.aspx?p=1 or click the link below:

  • Perkins Peninsula Park
  • For information about Richardson Park, contact the Lane County Parks at 541-682-2000 or visit Lane County Parks' web page, http://www.lanecounty.org/departments/PW/Parks/Pages/default.aspx?p=1 or click the link below:

  • Richardson Park
  • For information about Zumwalt Park, contact Lane County Parks at 541-682-2000 or visit Lane County Parks' web page, http://www.lanecounty.org/departments/PW/Parks/Pages/default.aspx?p=1 or click the link below:

  • Zumwalt Park
  • Private organizations lease Corps lands at Fern Ridge for recreation purposes:

    For information about this site, visit the Eugene Yacht Club website.
    For information about this site, go to the Fern Ridge Shores website or call 541-935-2335.
    For information about the Tri-Pass Ski Club, call 541-935-1495.

    Operations: Fern Ridge

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    The Fern Ridge Project encompasses more than 11,000 acres, ranging from open water to marsh, wet prairie and upland prairie habitats. More than 5,000 acres of the Fern Ridge Wildlife Area is managed cooperatively with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. In addition, the Corps works with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to support resident game and nongame fisheries within the Long Tom River Basin.

     

    The Willamette Valley Environmental Stewardship program focuses on restoring degraded uplands, wetlands and streams on Corps lands. Recent efforts include replacing exotic and invasive plants with native trees and shrubs, and restoring hydrology and topography to support native plant communities and wildlife habitat.

     

    The upland prairies and extensive wetlands at Fern Ridge provide habitats for a variety of plants and animals. Fender’s blue butterfly and its host plant, Kinkaid’s lupine, occupy upland prairie habitat around the lake.

     

    Oregon’s largest breeding colony of purple martins is at Fern Ridge, as well as significant populations of breeding western pond turtles. Thousands of acres of emergent marsh support the summer breeding habitat for a variety of water-bird species.

     

    Native upland prairies, along with wet prairies, now cover much less than one percent of their former area, making them some of the rarest North American ecosystems. Remnants of these highly diverse, complex and poorly understood ecosystems provide necessary habitat for many rare species. More than 50 rare species can be found at Fern Ridge, including several species federally listed as threatened or endangered.

     

    The Fern Ridge Lake Shoreline Management Plan was developed in 1988 and revised by Addendum in 1997.

    Related: Moorage Guidelines.