Delaware Reservoir Dam and Spillway

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Delaware County

Delaware Reservoir Dam and Spillway
Coordinates: 40.3588057, -83.069522
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Photos by Rob Thorn
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Tips for birding Delaware Reservoir Dam and Spillway
Delaware Lake Dam is a surprisingly compact site, unlike the sprawling dams of neighboring reservoirs. You turn into a parking lot right off US-23 and the small dam sits just east of you. You walk up a small ramp to get a good view of the pool above it, which can have gulls and waterfowl in season. Watch for eagles perched in the trees around the shore. Like most of our flood control dams, this is run by the Army Corps of Engineers, which has a small office and visitor center next to the parking lot. Be sure to check the small feeder array just south of it. You can also walk down to the spillway behind it, though it is small and rarely has much.

One of the good features of this site is that there is a forested stream south of the parking lot, Norris Run, which joins the Olentangy River just below the dam. The Army Corps have kept much of the forest and have put in a nice loop trail through it. It is only about 0.25 mile and runs along the creek between the spillway and the picnic area and is a good spot for typical forest birds. North of the parking lot, the huge flood control berm associated with the dam curves away north up US-23. From the top of it, you can scan the wetland forest next to the dam pool, often hearing orioles and vireos in summer.
From Rob Thorn

About Delaware Reservoir
Delaware Reservoir is in Delaware County, about 4 miles north of the city of Delaware. It is accessible from OH-23, OH-229, and OH-42.

Delaware Reservoir was constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for flood reduction, water supply, recreation, and fish and wildlife management. The lake was first filled in spring 1951. Today, 963 acres of water are impounded behind Delaware Dam. The dam retains water from two major tributaries, the Olentangy River and Whetstone Creek, and has a drainage area of about 247,000 acres. Due to the large watershed, compared to the size of the lake, Delaware Lake experiences water level changes up to 20 feet. The use of Delaware Reservoir as a water supply is expected to increase dramatically due to the rapid development of the metropolitan area north of Columbus.

Restrooms and wheelchair accessible facilities at locations identified on Delaware State Park map.