This article is about the John Day River in eastern Oregon. There is also the John Day River in northwestern Oregon.
The John Day River is a tributary of the Columbia River, approximately 284 miles (457 km) long, in northeastern Oregon in the United States. Undammed along its entire length, the river is the third longest free-flowing river in the contiguous United States. There is extensive use of its waters for irrigation. Its course furnishes habitat for diverse species, including wild steelhead and Chinook salmon runs. However, the steelhead populations are under federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections, and the Chinook salmon have been proposed for such protection.
The river was named for John Day, a member of the Astor Expedition, an overland expedition to the mouth of the Columbia River that left from St. Louis, Missouri, in 1810. Day wandered lost through this part of Oregon in the winter of 1811–1812.
The absence of dams on the river causes its flow to greatly fluctuate throughout the year depending on snowpack and rainfall within the watershed. The highest flow recorded at a gauge on the lower John Day was 43,300 cubic feet per second (1,230 m3/s) on January 2, 1997. The lowest flow was no flow at all, which occurred on September 2, 1966; from August 15 to September 16, 1973; and on nine days in August 1977. The average flow at the gauge is 2,075 cubic feet per second (58.8 m3/s).
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