US Army Corps of Engineers
Rock Island District Website

District Projects

Lake Red Rock Dam

Published March 10, 2020

Lake Red Rock, Iowa

Lake Red Rock is a multi-purpose project providing primary benefits in flood control and secondary benefits in low-flow augmentation, recreation and environmental stewardship. The dam is located on the Des Moines River approximately 35 miles southeast of Des Moines, Iowa. Storage volume at full flood pool is 1,436,400 acre-feet. The lake's normal (conservation) pool level is 15,250 acres which makes it Iowa's largest lake. The Project's watershed totals 12,320 square miles. The project includes: Lake Red Rock Dam with spillway that includes five Tainter gates, fourteen sluice gates, and stilling basin; Southeast Des Moines and Southwest Pleasant Hill Remedial Works and pump station; Carlisle Remedial Works; Avon Remedial Works and pump station; and Roberts Creek Sub-Impoundment. 

The dam recently became the host structure for the Red Rock Hydropower Project, a private venture to convert the flood control structure to a hydropower producer. It is financed by the Western Minnesota Municipal Power Agency, and will be operated by Missouri River Energy Services.

Cumulative nominal damages prevented since the project's inception (1969) = $1,467,010,000 (2019 $). Over 50,000 acres of directly managed lands and waters are included in the project. 29 Recreation Areas with 641 campsites. FY19 recreation fee receipt revenues were $497,000. Regional FY19 economic impact is $20,406,000 from an estimated 921,787 visitors.
Project is in operation.

Additional Information

Congressional Interest

Senators: Charles Grassley (IA), Joni Ernst (IA)

Representatives: IA-2 (Dave Loebsack), IA-3 (Cindy Axne)
Flood Control Act of 1938; Public Law 75-761

Summarized Project Costs

Estimated Federal Cost  N/A 
Estimated Non-Federal Cost  N/A 
Estimated Total Project Cost   N/A 
Allocations Prior to FY 2020 N/A 
FY 2020 Allocation  $7,453,000 
FY 2020 Total Capability  $21,115,000 

Major Work Item Current Year

FY 2020: Funds are being used for operation and maintenance of control structures and related infrastructure; dam safety programs and activities; operation and maintenance of recreation areas & related infrastructure. These funds support management of the recreation program and providing a quality level of service to the public visiting

recreation areas. Funds are also being used for environmental stewardship activities to protect the health, sustainability and integrity of the public lands associated with the project. Funds will be used for the following non-routine items: Prepare Plans & Specs for Repairs to SEDM SW Pleasant Hill Concrete Wall and Apron, installing energy efficient main dam lighting and main dam electrical repairs.

Additional funding could also be used for the following non-routine items: Rehabilitation of the SE Des Moines Levee Pumping Station, Main Dam Tainter Gate rehabilitation, Sluice Gates rehabilitation, Dam Bridge Deck replacement, Replace Howell Station Campground Shower Building, Environmental Stewardship Activities and additional priority infrastructure projects.