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The John Day Lock and Dam is located 216 miles upstream from the mouth of the Columbia River. It is one of the top five largest hydropower dams in the United States! In addition to supplying hydropower to the Pacific Northwest Region, The John Day Dam provides a reliable water source for navigation, irrigation, flood mitigation and recreation.

The Powerhouse

Construction: Began in 1968

  • Units 1-4 completed 1968
  • Units 5-10 completed 1969
  • Units 11-14 completed 1970
  • Units 15 & 16 completed 1972

Turbine generators: 155,000 KW

Turbine / generator speed: 90 rpm

Turbine type: Kaplan Adjustable Turbine

210,000 horsepower

Generator voltage: 13,800 volts

Transmission voltage: 540 KV

Water discharge at 100% Capacity: 344,000 cfs = 2,573,292 g/s

Average yearly power produced: 8,961,000 MW

Fish screens: 48 (Fish screens are metal structures that prevent fish from entering the turbines.)

Total cost at completion: $511 million

Total generation capacity: 2.48 million KW operating at 100%

Spillway

Overall length: 1,252 ft (381.6 m)

Width of gravity section: 243 ft (74 m)

Tainter gates: 20 gates: 50 ft x 58.5 ft (15.2 m x 17.8 m)

Design capacity: 2,250,000 cfs: 16,831,125 g/s

Pool elevation (sea-level)

Average: 262 ft (79.9 m)

Minimum: 155 ft (47.2 m)

Maximum: 268 ft (81.7 m)

 

The Fish Ladders

Forebay flow rate (volume): 100 cfs

Entrance flow rate: North Ladder: 1,000 cfs

South ladder: 2,700 cfs

Ladder slopes: 1 on 10

Depth of ladders: 6-to-8 feet (1.8 m to 2.4 m)

Width & length: 24 ft. by 1080 ft. (7.3 m by 329.2 m)

Navigation Lock

  • Fill/empty time: 39 minutes to fill, 15 minutes to empty
  • Width & length: 86 ft x 675 ft (26.2m x 205.7m)
  • Average lift: 105 ft (32 m)
  • Guillotine gate- 32 steel cables raise 876-ton gate
  • Minimum: 97 ft (29.5 m)
  • Maximum: 113 ft (34.4 m)
  • Depth over sill: 15 ft minimum (4.6 m)
  • Gallons dispersed per lockage: 49,069,461 at maximum lift
  • Average total lockages per day in 2010: 6 commercial vessels

The John Day Lock and Dam has one of the highest single lift locks in the world!

Fish Passage

Elevation gained up the fish ladders: 105 ft (32m)

The fish ladders are necessary so that adult fish can get past John Day Dam to return to their spawning grounds. The best months to see fish climbing the fish ladders are:

  • Chinook Salmon: May - September
  • Coho Salmon: September - October
  • Sockeye Salmon: June and July
  • Steelhead Trout: September
  • American Shad: June and July
  • Lamprey: July and August