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Big Cliff Dam
USACE Big Cliff Dam Oregon.jpg
Big Cliff Dam on the North Santiam River
Big Cliff Dam is located in Oregon
Big Cliff Dam
Location of Big Cliff Dam in Oregon
Country United States
Location Linn CountyMarion County, Oregon
Coordinates 44°45′3.6″N 122°16′59.16″W / 44.751000°N 122.2831000°W / 44.751000; -122.2831000
Purpose Power
Status Operational
Construction began 1949
Opening date 1953; 69 years ago (1953)
Owner(s) U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Dam and spillways
Type of dam Concrete gravity
Impounds North Santiam River
Height 191 ft (58 m)
Length 280 ft (85 m)
Elevation at crest 1,212 ft (369 m)
Creates Big Cliff Lake
Total capacity 6,450 acre⋅ft (7,960,000 m3)
Surface area 128 acres (0.52 km2)
Maximum length 2.8 mi (4.5 km)
Power station
Commission date 1953
Turbines 1 x 18 MW Kaplan-type
Installed capacity 18 MW

Big Cliff Dam is a concrete gravity dam on the North Santiam River in the western part of the U.S. state of Oregon. The dam spans the Linn CountyMarion County border in the Oregon Cascades.

The dam's primary functions are flood control, power generation, irrigation, fish habitat, water quality improvement, and recreation. It is one of 13 dams created by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers under the Willamette Valley Project which was authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1938.

It was constructed between March 1949 and May 1953 at the same time as Detroit Dam. Big Cliff is 2.7 miles (4.3 km) river distance below Detroit Dam at river mile 47 of the North Santiam River.

Big Cliff smooths river flow resulting from power generation fluctuations of Detroit Dam, a practice known as river re-regulation. Big Cliff Reservoir, primarily known as Big Cliff Lake, has daily depth variations of up to 24 feet (7.3 m).

Big Cliff can generate up to 18 megawatts of power.

The dams' operators try to keep the water temperature in the 50 to 59 °F (10 to 15 °C) range for ideal fish habitat by mixing water from the top of Detroit Lake with water from the bottom.

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