Kerr Dam

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For the dam in Virginia, see John H. Kerr Dam.
Kerr Dam
2011-06-07 17-17-11 996.jpg
Kerr Dam
Location Flathead Indian Reservation, Lake County, Montana, USA
Construction began 1930
Opening date 1938
Operator(s) PPL Montana, LLC, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes
Dam and spillways
Impounds Flathead River
Height 205 ft.
Length 541 ft.
Total capacity 1,217,000 acre·ft (1.501 km3)
Catchment area 8,587 sq mi (22,240 km2)
Surface area 191.5 sq mi (496 km2)
Power station
Turbines 3 units
Installed capacity 196 MW
Annual generation 426,749,000 KWh annually

Kerr Dam (Ktunaxa: ʔa·kniǂk̓aʔnuk [1]) is a concrete gravity-arch dam located at river mile 72 of the Flathead River, increasing the size of Flathead Lake near Polson, Montana. The dam was designed for hydroelectricity but also serves recreational uses. The dam is named after Frank Kerr, president of the Montana Power Company at the time of the dam's completion in 1938.[2]


Water flowing out of the Kerr Dam out of only one of the several doors

In 1930, construction began on the dam by Rocky Mountain Power. A year later in 1931, a lack of funding from the Great Depression caused construction to halt for five years. In 1936, the Montana Power Company restarted the project and completed it in 1938. The dam only raised Flathead Lake by 10 feet so it is not completely responsible for the reservoir. The dam's hydro powerplant consists of three units that receive water from three different penstocks 1700 feet upstream.[3]

Joint operation[edit]

A rainbow forming over the Kerr Dam in Montana

The dam and its related hydroelectric project are located inside the boundaries of the Flathead Indian Reservation, and operated jointly by PPL Montana, LLC (the successor to the Montana Power Company) and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. Today it provides both power for PPL—enough for about 147,000 homes—and over $9 million in annual revenue for the tribes. The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes will acquire Kerr Dam on Sept, 5 2015 for a price of 18.3M dollars. [3]

In literature[edit]

The plot of the novel “Wind from an Enemy Sky” by D’Arcy McNickle is centered around the construction of Kerr Dam.[4]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 47°40′36″N 114°14′03″W / 47.67667°N 114.23417°W / 47.67667; -114.23417