Willow Creek Reservoir -
Visitors can enjoy boating, fishing, picnicking and water sports at Willow Creek Reservoir. Recreation facilities are available 2 mi. SE of Heppner on county road.
Climate in Eastern Oregon varies greatly with elevation. The higher elevations experience colder temperatures and higher precipitation than the lower elevations. The region is much more arid and experiences greater temperature variations than western Oregon. Much of Eastern Oregon is considered high desert, where in some areas annual precipitation is less than 10 inches. Summer temperatures often reach 90 degrees in the lower elevations. Winters can be bitterly cold here, although there is little humidity. The mountains can receive heavy snowfall. If visiting the region during the summer months be prepared for afternoon thunderstorms and chilly evening temperatures. Snow may be encountered on high country trails throughout the summer months.
Willow Creek Lake is a flood damage reduction project designed to protect the city of Heppner, Oregon. In 1903, Heppner experienced one of the most devastating floods in the history of the United States. The project will prevent a recurrence of a similar disaster. Storage for irrigation is also part of the project. A lake for water conservation and irrigation is maintained at elevation 2063. When a flash flood occurs, the flood waters will be caught and stored, and slowly released until the lake returns to elevation 2063.The dam is a concrete gravity structure, 160 feet high from the lowest point in the foundation, and 1,780 feet long at the crest. A gravity dam uses its own weight to withstand the forces of the impounded water and does not have to transfer these forces to the abutments. This is the most common type of design for concrete dams. Construction began in September 1980 with the award of the first relocation contract.
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