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Brownlee Dam
Official name Brownlee Dam
Location Hells Canyon,
Baker Co., Oregon / Washington Co., Idaho
Coordinates 44°50′10″N 116°54′00″W / 44.836°N 116.9°W / 44.836; -116.9
Construction began 1955
Opening date May 9, 1958 (1958-05-09)
66 years ago
Operator(s) Idaho Power Company
Dam and spillways
Impounds Snake River
Height 420 feet (128 m)
Creates Brownlee Reservoir
Total capacity 1,426,700 acre-feet (1.7598 km3)
Catchment area 72,590 square miles (188,000 km2)
Surface area 15,000 acres (61 km2)
Power station
Installed capacity 585.4 MW
Annual generation 2,406.8 GWh
BrownleeDam is located in the United States
Location in the United States
BrownleeDam is located in Idaho
Location in Idaho

Brownlee Dam is a hydroelectric earth fill embankment dam in the western United States, on the Snake River on the Idaho-Oregon border, In Hells Canyon at river mile 285, it impounds the Snake River in the 58-mile (93 km)-long Brownlee Reservoir.

It is part of the Hells Canyon Project that also includes Hells Canyon Dam and Oxbow Dam, built and operated by Idaho Power Company. The first and upper-most of the three dams, its contractor was Morrison-Knudsen of Boise. It started filling on May 9, 1958 (1958-05-09), 66 years ago, flooding the community of Robinette.

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.


There is a 100-by-60-foot (30 by 18 m) private heliport, Brownlee Heliport, (FAA LID: OR75) located near the dam.

Namesake of the Brownlee Dam & Reservoir
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