With a total of 27 generating units, Chief Joseph Dam is the second-largest hydropower producer in the United States -- second only to Grand Coulee Dam. The power plant produces enough power to supply the electrical needs of over 1.5 million people.
Raising Rufus Woods Lake flooded 550 acres of shoreline vegetation and islands. Because of this loss, the Corps developed a replacement wildlife habitat. Restoration includes fencing, native shrubs, irrigation facilities, goose nesting islands, goose nesting structures, and raptor perches. Road access to the lake is limited, except near the Chief Joseph dam.
- A visitor center features a view within the world's largest straight-line powerhouse as well as interpretive displays. Bridgeport State Park is adjacent to the project.
Recreation - Viewing interpretive displays and enjoying the scenery around the lake and dam are some of the recreational opportunities available.
Climate - The climate of Washington varies within each region. The Cascades split the state and alter the weather patterns. The mountains receive large amounts of wet, heavy snow from October through May. These peaks remain snow covered throughout the year. The terrain east of the mountains receives approximately 12 inches of rainfall per year, generally much less than west of the mountains. Since the area east of the mountains is landlocked, temperatures in this region are lower during the winter months. Frequent winds coming down from the mountains also contribute to the low temperatures of eastern Washington.
Due to the coastal geography, western Washington is primarily temperate. The proximity to the ocean stabilizes the climate, making extreme temperatures very rare. The area receives large amounts of precipitation from Pacific rain and snow storms.
From Chelan, travel 30 miles north on U.S. Hwy. 7 and then 8 miles east on Washington Hwy. 17 to reach Chief Joseph Dam and Rufus Woods Lake.