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Dams of the Columbia Basin & Their Effects on the Native Fishery

Bonneville * The Dalles * John Day & McNary * Priest Rapids & Wanapum * Rock Island, Rocky Reach, Wells & Chief Joseph * Grand Coulee * Hells Canyon, Oxbow, Brownlee & Dworshak * Revelstoke, Keenleyside, Mica & Duncan


Ice Harbor Dam. Courtesy of Corps of Engineers
Ice Harbor Dam: Snake River, near the confluence with the Columbia River at mile marker 9.7, completed in 1961, federally owned , concrete gravity hydroelectric, 1 lock, 2 fish ladders, 2822 feet long, 100 feet high, spillway 590 feet, 10 gates with an earth fill embankment. The dam creates Lake Sacajawea, which extends 32 miles upstream to the Lower Monumental Dam.


Lower Monumental Dam. Courtesy of Bonneville Power Administration
Lower Monumental Dam: Snake River at mile marker 41.6, completed in 1969, federally owned, concrete gravity with a short earth fill abutment, spillway 572 feet, 8 gates, 3791 feet long ,height 100 feet, 2 fish ladders, 1 lock, creates Lake Herbert G. West, 28.1 miles to the Little Goose Dam, hydroelectric.


Little Goose Dam. Courtesy of Army Corps of Engineers
Little Goose Dam: Snake River at mile marker 70.3, completed in 1970, additional units completed in 1978, federally owned, concrete gravity type hydroelectric, spillway 512 feet, 8 gates, 2665 feet long, 98 feet high. Creates Lake Bryan which extends 37.2 miles upriver to the Lower Granite Dam.


Lower Granite Dam. Courtesy of Army Corps of Engineers
Lower Granite Dam: Snake River at mile marker 107.5, completed in 1975, federally owned, concrete gravity, hydroelectric, spillway 512 feet, 8 gates with an earth fill abutment. The dam is 3200 feet long with a height of 100 feet, and employs 2 fish ladders. Lower Granite dam was the first dam on the Snake River to use screens that protected the juvenile fish from the turbines (River of Life, Channel of Death by Keith C. Peterson, Confluence Press, 1995, p.184).

Environmentalists, the four treaty tribes (Yakama, Umatilla, Warm Springs, Nez Perce), scientists, and non-native fishermen have all called for the breaching of these four lower Snake River dams to facilitate salmon habitat restoration. Doing so would leave Lewiston, Idaho without its seaport. While many have considered drawdowns a radical solution to the region's salmon crisis, recently, the idea has gained credence. The issue is a contentious one with emotions high on both sides.

Columbia Snake Rivers Campaign

From the Cyberlearning Collection: Salmon Conflict

American Rivers collection of news releases pertaining to the proposals for drawdowns

Documents on the Umatilla Reservation web site



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