Brownlee Dam

Posted on Posted in Dams

Brownlee Dam is a hydroelectric earth fill embankment dam on the Snake River on the Idaho-Oregon border, in Hells Canyon (river mile 285). It impounds the Snake River in the 58-mile long Brownlee Reservoir. It is part of the Hells Canyon Project that also includes Hells Canyon Dam and Oxbow Dam, also built by Morrison Knudsen and operated by Idaho Power Company.

The dam’s powerhouse contains five generating units with a total nameplate capacity of 585.4 megawatts. Lacking passage for migrating salmon, the three Hells Canyon Project dams blocked access by anadromous salmonids to a stretch of the Snake River drainage basin from Hells Canyon Dam up to Shoshone Falls, which naturally prevents any upstream fish passage to the upper Snake River basin.

Another project that was given an accelerated construction schedule where the Company was placing 300,000 cubic yards of fill and rock per day.