First Advisor

Heejun Chang

Date of Publication

Spring 6-8-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Geography






Dams -- Oregon -- Willamette River Watershed, Water resources development -- Oregon -- Willamette River Watershed, Riparian ecology



Physical Description

1 online resource (v, 62 pages)


This study conducts a dam-scale cost versus benefit analysis in order to explore the feasibility of each the 13 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) commissioned dams in Oregon’s Willamette River network. Constructed between 1941 and 1969, these structures function in collaboration to comprise the Willamette River Basin Reservoir System (WRBRS). The motivation for this project derives from a growing awareness of the biophysical impacts that dam structures can have on riparian habitats. This project compares each of the 13 dams being assessed, to prioritize their level of utility within the system. The study takes the metrics from the top three services (flood regulation, hydropower generation and recreation) and disservices (fish mortality, structural risk and water temperature hazards) and creates a rubric that scores the feasibility of each dam within the system. Within a range between 0 to 3 for three dam services and 0 to -4.5 for two disservices, the overall calculated score elucidates for each structure whether its contribution to the WRBRS is positive or negative.

Further analysis searches for spatiotemporal trends such as anomalous tributaries or magnified structural risk for structures exceeding a certain age. GIS data from the National Inventory of Dams (NID), U.S. Geologic Survey (USGS) water measurements, raw data from USACE, and peer-reviewed studies comprise the statistics that generate results for this analysis. The computed scores for each dam yield an average overall score of -1.31, and nine of the 13 structures have negative results, indicating that the WRBRS faces challenges going forward. The study seeks to contribute to the increasingly relevant examination of dam networks at the watershed scale.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).

Persistent Identifier