US Army Corps of Engineers
Omaha District

Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers! Prevent invasive species Water Safety Reserve a campsite at USACE campgrounds at Recreation.gov Purchase Navigation and Boating Maps from the Jefferson National Parks Association
The Oahe Dam has a Visitor Center loacted on the eastern crest of thd dam. The visitor center provides an excellent view of Lake Oahe and the Missouri River. The center provides information about the history, exploration, early navigation, settlement and natural history of Lake Oahe and the Missouri River. Programs highlight construction of the dam, the Lewis & Clark Expedition and the fish of South Dakota.
Located near Pierre, South Dakota, the surge tanks at Oahe Dam are each 70 feet in diameter. There are two tanks per penstock. The surge tanks help regulate water flow to the power house turbines.
Oahe Dam is located near Pierre, S.D. at River Mile 1,072.3. The first of the power house’s seven 89,500-kilovolt generators was put into operation in March 1962. On August 17, 1962, President John F. Kennedy came to the dam and officially dedicated the two generators. The final generator went into operation in June 1963, completing the $340-million Oahe project. By 1966, Oahe Dam was generating over 2 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity annually.

Location: Near Pierre, S.D., River Mile 1,072.3

Lake Oahe is surrounded by mixed grass prairie with trees growing down to the shore in occasional steep draws.

Oahe Dam takes its name from the Oahe Mission established among the Lakota Sioux people in 1874, about eight miles upstream from the present site of the dam. The word "Oahe," roughly translated, means "a foundation" or "a place to stand on."

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The Lakota Sioux were not the first people in the area now called "the land of the Sioux." The Lakotas displaced people of the Arikara tribe, whose earth lodge villages lined the bluffs along the Missouri River in the 18th century. Traces of the fortresses that guarded their villages still remain.

Present day residents include the Cheyenne River Sioux and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribes, which occupy a majority of land on the west side of Lake Oahe.

Significant historical sites surround Lake Oahe, including the Fort Manuel Trading Post where Sacajawea, the Shoshone Indian woman who served as a guide for Lewis and Clark, is said to be buried.

The grave site of the Lakota Sioux Chief Sitting Bull is also nearby, as is the old military post of Fort Sully.

People travel from all over to participate in recreational activities on the 461,000 acres of land and water that comprise the project.

Guests are encouraged to have fun and are reminded that care should be taken to preserve the lands and waters for future visitors. There are 51 recreation areas around the reservoir including highly developed campgrounds and day use areas, moderately developed areas and primitive areas. Recreation opportunities at the lake include camping, picnicking, fishing, hunting, boating, water skiing, swimming, bird-watching, hiking, biking, and photography.

The story of Oahe focuses on people - from the early Native American tribes, to the fur traders and pioneers, to those who manage, operate and use the facility today. All play an important role in shaping and developing this region.

Lake Oahe's 2,250 mile shoreline offers a myriad of opportunities to outdoor recreationists. Swimmers, sightseers, campers and picnickers alike have their choice of outdoor activities. More than 1.5 million visitors enjoy Lake Oahe's recreation facilities each year.

Campers may choose between fully developed campsites with electrical hookups, trailer dump stations and comfort stations and more primitive sites with little or no amenitites. The day-use areas have picnic shelters, tables, grills, drinking water, comfort stations and playground equipment.

Anglers come to Lake Oahe for the great variety of sport fish, especially walleye and Chinook salmon. Other fish species include channel catfish, northern pike, whitebass, small mouth bass, sauger, trout, perch, blue gill and crappie. Concrete boat launching ramps are available at many locations on the lake.

Many of the public lands around the lakes and rivers, except for developed recreation areas, are open to hunting and offer a great place for sportsmen to hunt pheasants, grouse, partridge, turkey, waterfowl and deer. Wildlife management areas around lake and other areas may allow trapping/snaring please refer to the regulations that are established and enforced by the State of North Dakota.  The Corps of Engineers has certain project restrictions for areas it directly operates (buildings, recreation, and day use areas) for hunting, trapping, and snaring.

Highways 1804 and 1806 pass by most of Oahe’s recreation areas from Bismarck, N.D. and Pierre, S.D.

The Oahe Visitor Center is situated on the eastern crest of Oahe Dam. The visitor center provides an excellent view of Lake Oahe and the Missouri River.

The center provides information about the history, exploration, early navigation, settlement and natural history of Lake Oahe and the Missouri River. Programs highlight construction of the dam, the Lewis & Clark Expedition and the fish of South Dakota.

Visitor Center Hours: The Visitor Center is staffed weekdays year-round by South Dakota Missouri River Tourism. 

Memorial Day  to Labor Day: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, including holidays.

Off-season Hours: Weekdays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (closed holidays and weekends)

Memorial Day to Labor Day: 10 a.m., 1 & 4 p.m., seven days a week.

Due to increased security, powerhouse tours begin at the Oahe Visitor Center. Visitors should arrive 15 minutes prior to the tour and visitors over 18 years old must show a government issued photo ID. Tours last up to one hour.

Off-season or for groups of 10 or more: Call (605) 224-5862. Tours are by special appointment only

Oahe News Releases

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Category: CO Regulatory, Moffat, NISP, Halligan, Seaman, Windy Gap
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  • Halligan Water Supply Project draft environmental impact statement published

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District has published in the federal register the Draft Environmental Impact Statement and conceptual mitigation plan for the Halligan Water Supply Project, a water supply project located in Larimer County, Colorado, proposed by the City of Fort Collins Utilities.
  • Corps finalizes the Adams & Denver Counties, Colorado General Investigation Study

    Lt. Gen. Todd T. Semonite, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Commanding General and 54th U.S. Army Chief of Engineers, signed the recommended plan to implement flood risk management solutions along Weir Gulch and Harvard Gulch in Adams and Denver County, Colorado, and restore aquatic, wetland, and riparian habitat along the South Platte River.
  • Public input sought on Lake Oahe Shoreline Management Plan

    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District, is in the process of revising the Lake Oahe (South Dakota) Shoreline Management Plan (SMP), which was last updated in 1977. An open house style meeting will be held to answer questions and seek public input.
  • NISP public comment period extended

    The public comment period for the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP) is extended to October 4, 2018.
  • Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Northern Integrated Supply Project available for public review

    The Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP) is now available for public review. The project, coordinated by the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District, seeks to provide approximately 40,000 acre-feet each year from a new municipal water supply. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is neither a proponent nor an opponent of the proposed project.