Kerr Dam

Kerr Dam

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Kerr Dam

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Kerr Dam is concrete gravity-arch dam located at river mile 72 of the Flathead River, increasing the size of Flathead Lake near Polson, Montana. The dam was designed for hydroelectricity but also serves recreational uses. The dam is named after Frank Kerr, president of the Montana Power Company at the time of the dam's completion in 1939.


In 1930, construction began on the dam by Rocky Mountain Power. A year later in 1931, a lack of funding from the Great Depression caused construction to halt for five years. In 1936, the Montana Power Company restarted the project and completed it in 1938. The dam only raised Flathead Lake by 10 feet so it is not completely responsible for the reservoir. The dam's hydro powerplant consists of three units that receive water from three different penstocks 1700 feet downstream.

Joint Operation

The dam and its related hydroelectric project are located inside the boundaries of the Flathead Indian Reservation, and operated jointly by PPL Montana, LLC (the successor to the Montana Power Company) and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. Today it provides both power for PPL—enough for about 147,000 homes—and over $ 9 million in annual revenue for the tribes. The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes have the option of purchasing and...
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