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Fort Randall Dam by Scott Hendricks

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The Fort Randall Dam is an earth embankment dam impounding the Missouri River in South Dakota, United States and forming Lake Francis Case. It is one of six Missouri River dams, four being located in South Dakota.

The dam was authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1944 and plays a key role in the Pick-Sloan Plan for development of water resources in the Missouri River basin. The Corps of Engineers began construction of Fort Randall Dam in 1946, and it was the first Pick-Sloan dam completed by the Omaha District. President Dwight D.Eisenhower threw the switch that started the first power generating unit in 1954. When completed in 1956, Fort Randall Dam and the Lake Francis Case Project cost approximately $200 million.

The eight generating units of the Fort Randall Dam are capable of generating 40 megawatts of electricity each, with an annual production of 1.727 billion kilowatt hours. The combined maximum capacity of 320 megawatts is enough to supply 245,000 households, according to the Corps of Engineers. The river behind the dam drains an area of 263,480 mi² (682,410 km²). Its reservoir, Lake Francis Case, has a surface area of 102,000 acres (41,000 ha) at maximum operating pool, coinciding with a volume of 5,700,000 acre feet (7.0×109 m3).

The Fort Randall Dam is located in southeast South Dakota within sight of its namesake Fort Randall; by Pickstown, South Dakota on the east bank of the river; 12 miles (19 km) west of Wagner, South Dakota, on South Dakota Highway 46; and 25 miles (40 km) northeast of Spencer, Nebraska, on U.S. Highway 281.

In June 2011, in response to the 2011 Missouri River Floods, the dam was releasing over 143,000 cubic feet per second (4,000 m3/s), which greatly exceeded its previous record release of 67,000 cu ft/s (1,900 m3/s) set in 1997

The Fort Randall Military Post was established in 1856 to help keep peace on the frontier. It was located on the south side of the Missouri River in South Dakota, just below the present site of the Fort Randall Dam. The site for the fort was selected in 1856 by General William S. Harney. The fort served as a strategic site on the river to defend two lines of transportation; it operated for 36 years. It was named for Colonel Daniel Randall, a career Army officer who also served as Deputy Paymaster General of the Army.

Its strategic location along the Missouri River made it a key fort in two lines of western frontier defense. It was the last link in a chain of forts protecting the overland route along the Platte River. It was also the first fort in a chain of forts on the upper Missouri River. The most important mission assigned to the soldiers of Fort Randall was to mount expeditions to try to control the many Indian tribes on the Great Plains, primarily the Teton Sioux (Lakota people).

After serving as an important base in the Indian Wars, Fort Randall closed in 1892.

Olympus E-510 hand held, Zuiko, 14 – 42 mm Lens, ISO 200, Focal Length 14.0 mm, f/4.0, 1/2500 second exposure

Tags

dam, river, great plains, south dakota, prairie

Lives in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and operates Dry Fly Enterprises. It is small business engaged in photography, fly rod building, dry/wet fly tying and mystery/thriller/action novelist.

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Comments

  • JohnDSmith
    JohnDSmithover 1 year ago

    Great looking Dam,…..Love the info too,….

  • Thanks, John. I have been meaning to get out to this one for a long time. It takes a future son in law to prod me along. He grew up in this area.

    – Scott Hendricks

  • vigor
    vigorover 1 year ago

    Lovely shot of this dam!

  • lorilee
    lorileeover 1 year ago

  • Teresa Zieba
    Teresa Ziebaover 1 year ago


    Congratulations Scott!

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