Wishon Dam

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Wishon Dam
Wishon Dam is located in California
Wishon Dam
Location of Wishon Dam in California
Coordinates37°00′11″N 118°58′00″W / 37.00306°N 118.96667°W / 37.00306; -118.96667Coordinates: 37°00′11″N 118°58′00″W / 37.00306°N 118.96667°W / 37.00306; -118.96667
Opening date1958
Dam and spillways
Type of damRockfill[1]
ImpoundsNorth Fork Kings River[1]
Height (foundation)265 ft (81 m)[1]
Length3,328 ft (1,014 m)[1]
Elevation at crest6,554.7 ft (1,997.9 m)[1]
Dam volume3,700,000 cu yd (2,800,000 m3)[1]
CreatesWishon Reservoir
Total capacity118,000 acre⋅ft (146,000,000 m3)[1]
Catchment area177 sq mi (460 km2)[1]
Surface area970 acres (390 ha)[1]
Haas Powerhouse[2]
Hydraulic head850 ft (260 m)[2]
Installed capacity128 MW[2]
Annual generation447,850,000 KWh (2001–2012)[3]

Wishon Dam (National ID # CA00411) is a dam in Fresno County, California in the Sierra National Forest, in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. It impounds the North Fork Kings River to form Wishon Reservoir.

The earthen and rockfill gravity dam was constructed in 1958 by Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) with a height of 260 feet and a length of 3,330 feet at its crest.[4] Wishon Dam and its companion Courtright Dam, which stands about five miles to the north, along with other smaller auxiliary gravity dam structures, are elements of PG&E's Haas-Kings River Project.

Courtright Reservoir serves as the upper reservoir for the Helms Pumped Storage Plant. Wishon Reservoir is the lower. During times of peak demand for electricity, which is also when it is most expensive, water is drained from Courtright Reservoir, run through the 1,212 MW Helms Power Plant and emptied into Wishon Reservoir. When demand and prices for electricity are low, water is pumped from Wishon Reservoir to Courtright Reservoir using the power plant's reversible turbines. Helms Power Plant is 1,000 feet (300 m) underground in a chamber carved out of solid granite at the north end of Wishon Lake. It is similar to Southern California Edison's Eastwood Powerhouse near Shaver Lake, which is also a pumped-storage plant.[5]

The reservoir Wishon Dam creates, Wishon Reservoir, has a maximum capacity of 128,606 acre-feet.[4] PG&E maintains Lily Pad Campground with 15 campsites on the southern shore, and recreation includes fishing (for German brown, rainbow or Eastern Brook trout), boating, camping and hiking.[6] The area north of the dam that is now covered by the reservoir was known as Coolidge Meadows[7] prior to the construction of the dam.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "California Data Exchange Center".
  2. ^ a b c "Popular Mechanics". Hearst Magazines. March 1959.
  3. ^ "California Hydroelectric Statistics & Data". California Energy Commission. Retrieved 2018-05-02.
  4. ^ a b Federal Register, Volume 60 Issue 112 (Monday, June 12, 1995)
  5. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-10-05. Retrieved 2012-08-04.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ Sierra National Forest - Recreation
  7. ^ "Blackcap Mtn., Quadrangle" (Map scan). USGS TopoView (15 Minute Quadrangle Map). U.S. Geological Survey. September 23, 1955. Retrieved January 28, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)