Crane Prairie Dam


Crane Prairie Dam was built by several local irrigation districts serving lands south of the North Unit, principally the Central Oregon Irrigation District. It is a rockfill timber-crib dam about 2 miles above Wickiup Reservoir on the Deschutes River. By the time work began on the North Unit, the dam had become unsafe and was rehabilitated by the Bureau of Reclamation in 1940. Crane Prairie Dam is an earthfill structure 36 feet high and 284 feet in length at its crest. It contains 30,000 cubic yards of material. The spillway is an uncontrolled weir in the floor of an open cut channel in the left abutment. The reservoir has a total capacity of 55,300 acre-feet (active 55,300 acre-feet).

The right wall of the spillway was raised 9 feet in 1992 to enable passage of 60 percent of the probable maximum flood without overtopping the dam.


Crane Prairie Dam and reservoir are situated in forest covered volcanic mountains, consisting of buttes, craters and intervening sediment covered basins.  The intermittent out-pouring of lava flows and explosive volcanic activity has created very complex geologic situations in local areas.  The porous lava flows, breccia, ash and deposits of water lain sediment can be linked to a huge absorptive sponge with local perched or depressed water tables, where lakes and springs have been created at various elevations, according to the rate of inflow or outflow of water as it adjusts to local topographic and geologic conditions.   The readjustments of the earth's crust during and following volcanic activity undoubtedly created huge cracks, fissures and faults through which the surface water can be lost or move to lower subsurface elevations.

RegionFacilities in Pacific Northwest | Pacific Northwest Home Page
Dam TypeZoned Earthfill
ReservoirCrane Prairie
WatercourseDeschutes River
Original Construction1939-1940
Modified Construction
National ID NumberOR00279
Hydrologic Unit Code

Structural Height36.0 ft
Hydraulic Height (Normal Operating Depth at Dam)27.00 ft
Top Parapet (Elevation)
Spillway Crest Elevation4447.6 ft
Crest Elevation4455.0 ft
Crest Length285.0 ft
Crest Width
Base Width
Volume of Dam Construction Materials
Streambed at Dam Axis4423.0 ft
Top of Exclusive Flood Control Pool (Elevation)
Top of Joint Use Pool (Elevation)
Top of Active Conservation Pool (Elevation)4445.0 ft
Top of Inactive Conservation Pool (Elevation)4424.0 ft
Top of Dead Storage Pool (Elevation)4424.0 ft

Hydraulics & Hydrology
Total Water Storage at Elevation 55,330 ac-ft
Maximum Water Surface Elevation
Normal Water Surface Elevation4445.0 ft
Spillway Type Ungated rock channel
Auxiliary SpillwayNo
Spillway Capacity at Elevation2,500 cfs at 4447.6 ft
Auxiliary Spillway Capacity at Elevation
Uncontrolled Spillway Capacity at Elevation
Outlet Works Capacity at Elevation1800 cfs at 4445.0 ft
Diversion Capacity at Elevation
Drainage Area183.2 sq mi
Hydrometeorological Report (HMR)HMR 57
Probable Maximum Flood (PMF) Report

Contact Information
TitleArea Office Manager
OrganizationColumbia-Cascades Area Office
Address1917 Marsh Road
CityYakima, WA 98901-2058
Phone (Fax)509 454-5611
Phone (Office)509 575-5848 x202
OrganizationCentral Oregon Irrigation District
Address2598 North Highway 97
CityRedmond, OR 97756
Phone (Office)541 548-6047

Last updated: Apr 30, 2009