Potential Impacts to Boat Ramp Access

Due to unusually dry weather, water levels at four Willamette Valley reservoirs have dipped below normal winter levels causing some low-water boat ramps to become unusable.  This occurred because USACE water managers anticipated high inflows to the reservoirs from forecasted rainstorms, and the inflows were less than expected.  Water managers have reduced outflows from these dams, and they anticipate that reservoir levels will gradually increase to normal winter pool levels over the next two weeks.  Low water ramps at the following reservoirs are currently closed due to low water: Green Peter (Thistle Creek Ramp) and Detroit (Mongold Ramp).  Some boats may not be able to launch from the Packard Creek Ramp at Hills Creek Reservoir at current water levels.  Updated information about reservoir levels can found on the Willamette teacup diagram: https://www.nwd-wc.usace.army.mil/nwp/teacup/willamette/

Changes to operations at Green Peter dam have resulted in death of Kokanee salmon. Click this banner to learn more.

Willamette Valley Initiatives Brochure

Learn about the different Willamette Valley System initiatives and how they are related.


The project office is located at the Eugene, Ore. Federal Building, 211 E. 7th St., Ste. 480
Eugene, OR 97401-2773. Office hours are 7 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

General: 541-684-4300
Recreation: 541-942-5631

Email the Willamette Valley Project

The Willamette Valley Project pamphlet

The Willamette Valley Project

The Portland District operates 13 dams in the Willamette River basin. Each dam contributes to a water resource management system that provides flood risk management, power generation, water quality improvement, irrigation, fish and wildlife habitat and recreation for the Willamette River and many of its tributaries.

Willamette Valley commemorates 50 years

Last year, Blue River Dam turned 50-years-old, and marked the 50th commemoration of the completion of the entire system of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ 13 dams in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, which has been systematically protecting people, infrastructure and a way-of-life since 1969. We acknowledge dam construction and ongoing operations have created challenges but the Corps' goal is to balance the priorities of the region by balancing our authorized purposes.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built Blue River Dam and Reservoir in 1969 to manage flood risks from the McKenzie River, a tributary of the Willamette River, east of Eugene, Oregon. It is one 13 dams and reservoirs in the Willamette Valley System and has helped the Corps reduce the severity of floods, which saves the region an estimated one billion dollars per year. Portland District is commemorating the 50th anniversary of the system, this year.

Map of the Willamette Valley Project

For more information about a specific dam, click on its name on the map.

Since their completion, the dams have cumulatively prevented more than $25 billion in flood damages to the Willamette Valley. The Willamette River Basin is bounded by the Cascade Mountains on the east and the Coast Range on the west.

Although Corps dams only regulate about 27 percent of the surface area runoff in the Willamette Basin above its confluence with the Columbia River, our efforts help reduce flood damage in the Willamette River Basin, as well the North and South Santiam, McKenzie, Coast Fork, Long Tom and Middle Fork Willamette river tributary basins.  

During the rainy season, potentially disastrous flooding is managed by storing water in the reservoirs behind the dams. During the summer, water levels in the reservoirs are maintained as high as possible to provide for reservoir water-related recreation opportunities.  In the drier summer and fall months when rivers are at low levels, stored water is released from the dams to improve water quality and conditions for fish.  

Nine of the Willamette Valley dams generate hydroelectricity from the power of water passing through the dams. Eight of these facilities are owned and operated by the Corps of Engineers, and one is a private facility licensed by FERC.  These dams can provide enough power to service about 300,000 homes (500 mw).

Federal, state and local agencies and many Willamette Valley stakeholders are united in their commitment to protect native fish populations and their habitat. They have been working together for many years, along with private interests, on improvements essential for the successful protection and recovery of these Northwest treasures.  The Corps is a partner in efforts to revitalize our streams and habitats throughout the Willamette Valley.

There are more than 50 developed recreation sites within the Willamette Valley Project. Activities available at each reservoir vary, but may include: camping, picnicking, boating, water skiing, fishing, swimming, hunting, hiking, biking, equestrian use and wildlife viewing.Link to Hills Creek page Link to Lookout Point page Link to Cottage Grove page Link to Dorena page Link to Dexter page Link to Fall Creek page Link to Blue River page Link to Cougar page Link to Fern Ridge page Link to Green Peter page Link to Foster page Link to Detroit page Link to Big Cliff page