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Dow Lake Dam

Location and Description

Dow Lake Dam is located in Strouds Run State Park in Athens County, just east of the city of Athens. The dam was originally constructed in 1959 and serves as a recreational lake for the park.

The dam is an earth fill embankment that has an 8-foot-diameter concrete spillway pipe with a 16-foot-diameter concrete riser. The structure has a 2-foot diameter sluice gate lake drain in the spillway riser. The dam is 775 feet long and 66 feet high. Dow Lake (aka Strouds Run Lake) impounds approximately 161 acres at normal pool and has a contributing drainage area of 7.3 square miles. The lake storage capacity is more than 692 million gallons of water.

As a Class I high-hazard potential structure, a sudden failure of Dow Lake Dam likely would result in the structural collapse of at least one residence or one commercial or industrial business and probable loss of human life. (Hazard ratings refer to the consequences of dam failure, not the dam's condition.)

Click here for more about the Dam Risk Reduction Program.

dam problem areas

dam problem areas

dam problem areas

Dow Lake Dam: Statistics (previous structure)

Prior to completion of dam risk reduction construction the dam included these characteristics.

  • Maximum Embankment Height: 66 feet
  • Length of Dam: 775 feet
  • Crest Width: 15 feet
  • Reservoir Surface Area At Top Of Dam: 290 acres
  • Storage Capacity at Principal Spillway Elevation: 2,126 acre-feet = 692,760,000 gallons
  • Principal Spillway Type: Concrete pipe and riser
  • Emergency Spillway: None
  • Principal Spillway Crest Elevation: 660 ft above msl
  • Reservoir Surface Area at Principal Spillway: 161 acres
  • Lake Drains: 2-foot-diamteter sluice gate in spillway riser
  • Dam Classification: Class I
  • Lake Constructed: 1959
  • Lake Inflow: Strouds Run
  • Total Drainage Area To Lake: 7.3 square miles
  • Lake Outflow: Strouds Run into the Hocking River
  • Counties: The site is located in Stroud's Run State Park in Athens County
  • Communities: Athens, Fisher

Safety Issues

Dow Lake Dam has deficiencies that must be addressed to bring it into compliance with state dam safety standards. Several slides previously have been observed on the earthen embankment, requiring temporary repairs over the past two years. Also, the dam does not meet current state dam safety standards and does not currently pass the minimum design flood standard.

Risk Reduction

Preliminary alternatives for the remediation of these problems were considered and a recommended alternative was selected. Based upon the condition of the downstream slope, the embankment now is being widened, increasing the crest width by 50 feet and by flattening the slope of the downstream face of the embankment. The toe drain system is being replaced and a chimney drain system will be added to the embankment during widening. Improvements to meet flood capacity will be made as part of a future construction project.

Long Term Plan

Routine inspections and maintenance of the dam will continue. An emergency action plan will be revised and shared with local emergency management officials once it is completed.


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    To request more information you may write to:

    Ohio Department of Natural Resources
    Dam Risk Reduction Project
    2045 Morse Road, Building E-3
    Columbus, Ohio 43229

    or send an email communication to