Portland District

Home
Home > Locations > Willamette Valley > Detroit

Detroit hydropower

Generators / total output two 100 mw

Detroit project data

Dam length 1,523.5 ft 464.5m
Height 463 ft 141.1 m
Elevation (NGVD*) 1,580 ft 481 m
Lake length 9 mi 14.4 km
Shoreline 32 mi 51.4 km
Area when full 3,500 ac 1,432 ha
*National Geodetic Vertical Datum

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

Email us about Detroit

Detroit pamphlet

Detroit Dam & Lake

Detroit Dam

Detroit Dam is located at river mile 49 on the North Santiam River, about 45 miles southeast of Salem, Ore. Detroit is a concrete dam with gated spillways. It was completed in 1953 with Big Cliff Dam, located just downstream, at a cost of $62.7 million. Detroit Dam has two hydropower generating units which were put into service in 1953, capable of producing 50 megawatts each.

Detroit Dam works together with Big Cliff Dam to provide flood risk management. Detroit’s other authorized primary purposes also include hydropower, water quality improvement, irrigation, fish and wildlife habitat and recreation.

Detroit recreation

Birding: The lake is a designated stop along the Mt. Jefferson 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. This area provides songbird habitat in its hardwood stands, while osprey use lakeshore snags and trees as roosts and nesting sites and waterfowl including common mergansers nest at the lake.

Camping: Four recreation sites at Detroit are operated by the U.S. Forest Service. Call the Detroit Ranger Station at 503-854-3366 or click one of the links for more information: Cove Creek Campground; Hoover Campground; Piety Island Campground; or Southshore Campground.

Two recreation sites at Detroit are operated by Oregon Parks and Recreation. Call either the park office at 503-854-3406, the State Parks Information Center at 800-551-6949 or click one of the links for more information: Detroit Lake State Park; or Mongold day-use area. Mongold day-use area also has a life jacket loaner station available.

Getting around

 

Environmental stewardship at Detroit Dam

The Detroit project encompasses more than 6,500 acres. The reservoir is primarily managed through an agreement with the Willamette National Forest. The reservoir is also a designated stop along the Mt. Jefferson section of the Oregon Cascades Birding Trail, a self-guided auto tour of nearly 200 prime birding destinations in the Oregon Cascades. This area provides songbird habitat in its hardwood stands, while osprey use lakeshore snags and trees as roosts and nesting sites and waterfowl including common mergansers nest at the lake.

To mitigate impacts from Corps dams to Chinook salmon and winter steelhead within the North Santiam River Basin, the Corps constructed the Marion Forks Fish Hatchery and the Minto Collection Facility. These 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 within the North Santiam River basin.

Minto Fish Collection Facility

map of Minto Fish Facility and nearby areaThe Corps of Engineers built the Minto Fish Collection Facility on the north bank of the North Santiam River, four miles downstream of Big Cliff Dam and seven miles downstream of Detroit Dam. Operation began 2013.

The original facility collected adult fish and released juvenile fish in cooperation with the hatchery program at Marion Forks Hatchery to compensate for habitat blocked by construction and operation of Detroit and Big Cliff dams. Now, the facility continues to support the hatchery program and also safely traps and hauls adult fish upstream of Detroit Dam via transport trucks, where they are released to spawn naturally.

This project was required under the 2008 Willamette Project Biological Opinions produced by the National Marine Fisheries Service and U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and is part of our ongoing efforts to restore Upper Willamette River spring Chinook salmon listed under the Endangered Species Act.

Flood risk management at Detroit Dam

Conservation season - April to November: Restrict pool elevation to 1568.5 feet.
Flood season - November to March: Restrict pool elevation to 1568.5 feet.

For more information, visit our Water page.