US Army Corps of Engineers
Rock Island District

District Projects

Lake Red Rock Dam

Published March 8, 2019

Operations Project Manager
641-828-7522 x6401

Knoxville, Iowa

Lake Red Rock is a multiple 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) = $1,454,191,000(2018 $). Over 50,000 acres of directly managed lands and waters are included in the project. 29 Recreation Areas with 641 campsites. FY18 recreation fee receipts and lease revenues were $646,000.  Lake Red Rock hosted 822,110 visitors in FY18 and had a regional economic impact of $17,875,000 in FY18.

Project is in operation.

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 2019 N/A 
FY 2019 Allocation  N/A 
FY 2019 Total Capability  $6,054,000 

Major Work Item Current Year
FY 2019:
Budgeted funds will be used for operation and maintenance of the flood control works and related infrastructure and dam safety programs and activities. Funds will also be used for operation and maintenance of day-use and overnight recreation areas and facilities. These funds support management of the recreation program and public visitation as well as functions that support recreation management by other lessees, agencies and partners. Funds will also be used for 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:  Conduct Emergency Action Plan Update and Dam Safety Exercise, Prepare Plans & Specs for Repairs to SEDM SW Pleasant Hill Concrete Wall and Apron, multiple energy saving projects to include Water Line Replacements and Meter Installation at multiple Recreation Areas, and Replace the Project Admin Office HVAC.