Lewis and Clark Visitor Center


The federal Pick-Sloan Plan called for 100 dams in the Missouri River Basin, including six on the upper Missouri River. The smallest of these is the 74-foot-high, 8,700-foot-long, rolled-earth Gavins Point Dam. In 1952, Lt. Gen. Lewis Pick of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers set off a dynamite charge from the Nebraska side of the river, officially starting the project. When completed, the dam controlled the river's flow as far as St. Louis, Mo. It also created the 492,000-acre-foot Lewis and Clark Lake, while generating some 100,000 kilowatts of electricity. The dam was formally dedicated in 1957 on the Yankton side of the river.

Activity Details

Activity Type:Trips and Destinations
Discipline:Civil
Topic(s):Structures
Grade:K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12
Time:Full day

Fun Fact:The Missouri River's continual flooding led to the Flood Control Act of 1944. Lt. Gen. Lewis Pick of the Corps of Engineers proposed dams for flood control and river navigation; W.G. Sloan of the Bureau of Reclamation wanted irrigation and powerplants. The compromise was the Pick-Sloan Plan, under which the Gavins Point Dam & Powerplant were built.