Brownlee Dam

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Brownlee Dam
Official name Brownlee Dam
Location Hells Canyon, Baker County, Oregon / Washington County, Idaho, USA
Coordinates 44°50′10″N 116°54′00″W / 44.8361°N 116.9°W / 44.8361; -116.9Coordinates: 44°50′10″N 116°54′00″W / 44.8361°N 116.9°W / 44.8361; -116.9
Opening date 1958
Operator(s) Idaho Power Company
Dam and spillways
Impounds Snake River
Height 420 ft (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

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 (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 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 x 18 m) private heliport, Brownlee Heliport, (FAA LID: OR75) located near the dam.

Namesake of the Brownlee Dam & Reservoir

See also[edit]

  • Brownlee, Oregon, the dam's namesake, was located about 2 miles upstream from the dam

External links[edit]