Open main menu

Wikipedia β

Ice Harbor Lock and Dam is a hydroelectric, concrete gravity run-of-the-river dam on the Snake River in Walla Walla and Franklin counties in the U.S. state of Washington.[4] The dam is located 8 miles (13 km) northeast of the town of Burbank and 12 miles (19 km) east of Pasco, river mile 9.7. Its name comes from a tiny bay in the river where boats once tied up to wait for upstream ice-jams to break up.[5]

Ice Harbor Dam
Ice Harbor Dam from the west,
north side of the Snake River.
Country United States
Location Franklin / Walla Walla counties, Washington
Coordinates 46°14′58″N 118°52′47″W / 46.2495803°N 118.8797221°W / 46.2495803; -118.8797221Coordinates: 46°14′58″N 118°52′47″W / 46.2495803°N 118.8797221°W / 46.2495803; -118.8797221
Construction began June 1955
Opening date 1962[1]
Owner(s) U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Dam and spillways
Type of dam Concrete gravity, run-of-the-river
Impounds Snake River
Height 100 feet (30 m)
Length 2,822 feet (860 m)
Spillway type Service, gate-controlled
Creates Lake Sacajawea
Total capacity 249,000 acre⋅ft (0.307 km3)[2]
Surface area 8,375 acres (33.89 km2)
Normal elevation 443 feet (135 m) AMSL
Power Station
Turbines 3 x 90 MW units;
3 x 111 MW units[3]
Installed capacity 603 MW
693 MW (max)

Construction began in June 1955. The main structure and three generators were completed in 1961,[6] with an additional three generators finished in 1976. Generating capacity is 603 megawatts, with an overload capacity of 693 MW. The spillway has ten gates and is 590 feet (180 m) long.


Dam systemEdit

Ice Harbor Dam is part of the Columbia River Basin system of dams.

Visitor centerEdit

Inside the Dam on the South side of the river is a large visitor center that has been recently updated to include a new film "The Snake - River of Life" and a new modern interactive touch screen kiosk with information on the dam and recreational opportunities in the area. The visitor center also has a fish ladder viewing room which offers an excellent view of migrating Salmon, Steelhead and Shad. Due to security, visitors must pass through the security gate to gain access.

Surrounding water bodiesEdit

Lake Sacajawea, named for Sacajawea, is formed behind the dam. The lake stretches to the base of Lower Monumental Dam, 32 miles (51 km) upstream. The Wallula Channel, formed from the backup of Snake River entering the Columbia River just southeast of Pasco, runs 10 miles (16 km) downstream from the base of the dam.

Navigation lock
  • Single-lift
  • 86 feet (26 m) wide
  • 675 feet (206 m) long


The highest temperature ever measured in Washington state, at 118 °F (47.8 °C), was recorded at Ice Harbor Dam on August 5, 1961.[7]

Looking north, Ice Harbor Dam with lock and one fish ladder on the left (north side of the river), spillway in the middle of the dam, and the power generation station and another fish ladder on the south side (right) of the river.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Ice Harbor Dam brought big boats back to Snake River". Tri-City Herald. June 17, 1975. p. 26. 
  2. ^ "The Four Lower Snake River Dams". Retrieved 17 July 2010. 
  3. ^ "Ice Harbor Dam". Retrieved 17 July 2010. 
  4. ^ "The Columbia River System Inside Story" (PDF). pp. 14–15. Retrieved 17 July 2010. 
  5. ^ "Ice Harbor Dam". Washington Place Names database. Tacoma Public Library. Archived from the original on 2009-03-09. Retrieved 2009-03-06. 
  6. ^ "Ice Harbor is first step in taming of lower Snake". Lewiston Morning Tribune. July 16, 1961. p. 13. 
  7. ^ "United States Extreme Record Temperatures & Differences". Retrieved 2008-11-22. 

External linksEdit