Leaburg-Walterville Hydroelectric Project


The Leaburg-Walterville Hydroelectric Project is comprised of two facilities located at different points on the McKenzie River. Both plants are run-of-the-river facilities, meaning that the natural flow and elevation drop of the river are used to generate electricity.

The Leaburg facility has a capacity of 15.9 megawatts. The Walterville plant has a capacity of 9 megawatts.

Leaburg dam on a sunny day.
Leaburg

Leaburg hydroelectric facilities include the following:

  • Dam
  • Power canal
  • Fish screen
  • Powerhouse
  • Tailrace fish barrier

The project is operated as an integrated system. The dam provides control for diverting a portion of the river into the canal, and is operated to maintain a constant lake surface elevation. During seasons of surplus flow, the canal gates are set to provide optimum generation, and automatic controls adjust the three roll gates to spill surplus flow downriver.

In times of low flow, the roll gates are set to spill the licensed minimum flow (1,000 cubic feet per second) downstream, and automatic canal gate controls adjust canal flows to maintain the lake surface elevation. The turbine generator automatically adjusts load to available canal flows. 

Salmon migrating upstream are protected from entering the powerhouse tailrace by a rack-type barrier. The racks are raised up and locked from mid-March through September when adult salmon are in the river. Downstream migrating juvenile salmon are prevented from entering the power canal by the fish screen located downstream from the dam near Highway 126, and are returned to the river via a pipe.

The fish ladders and screen are operated year-round to allow safe passage for fish both upstream and downstream around the dam. The fish ladders need only occasional cleaning, which usually can be accomplished with a one or two day shutdown. Routine maintenance is scheduled at times of least upstream fish migration. The fish screens have an automatic spray back system to flush debris that collects on the screen.

Walterville

Walterville hydroelectric facilities include the following:

  • River diversion intake
  • Power canal
  • Fish screen
  • Powerhouse
  • Canal tailrace fish barrier

Like the Leaburg facility, Walterville is operated as an integrated system. The intake gates are operated to capture and divert a portion of the available river flow, provided that licensed minimum flows are left in the river downstream of the intake. Canal and downstream river elevations are monitored electronically. The turbine-generator automatically adjusts load for available flows to maintain a constant level.

Salmon migrating upstream are protected from entering the tailrace by the tailrace velocity barrier and are diverted back to the river by a tailrace bypass channel. Downstream migrating juvenile salmon are prevented from entering the power canal by a fish screen, and are returned to the river via a pipe.

Specifications:

Location: McKenzie River
Nearest town: Leaburg, OR
Capacity: 25 MW
Date built: Walterville, 1963 and Leaburg, 1929
Licensed through: 2041