One of the largest earthen dams in the world, located near Pierre, SD. It is the pride and job of the Army Corps of Engineers, who operate the Missouri River dams.

Construction of Oahe Dam started in 1948 finished in 1962. The dam measures 9,300 feet long with a maximum height of 245 feet. Each of the seven turbines generate 112,290 kilowatts of power. Oddly enough, none of the power generated is used locally. I don't think any is even used in South Dakota. Monster transmissions lines ship the power out East, far from the people of SD.

Lake Oahe is the 4th-largest man-made reservoir in the United States. The Lake stretches from Pierre, SD to Bismark, ND. It has 2250 miles of shoreline, and a maximum depth of 205 feet. If it wasn't so fricking cold all the time, the lake would be awesome for water skiing. But until about August, you need a wetsuit if you even dare set foot in the lake. Just the other day (Late May), the water was about 45 degrees. The total storage capacity of the reservoir is 23.5 million acre-feet. The lake drains an area of approximately 243,490 square miles.

The size and scale of this thing are just mind blowing. The dam is so big, mistaking it for a hill is easy. It stretches all along the horizon. And just think, they dug this. It wasn't there, they dug for two decades non stop to build it. Crazy. Oahe is one of six main stem dams in the Pick Sloan plan for development of the Missouri River Basin. The plan was authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1944. The Corps of Engineers began construction of Oahe Dam in 1948 and initiated hydroelectric power generation in 1962. President John F. Kennedy officially dedicated the dam and lake on August 17, 1962.

It cost something like $350 million to build just this dam.

They give tours of the powerhouse and surrounding area. It's well worth it.

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