Ice Harbor Dam and Lake Sacajawea

Ice Harbor Lock and Dam was the first of four dams constructed as part of the Lower Snake River Project, authorized in the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1945. Construction began in 1956, and three turbine units were operational in 1961. Three more turbine units were installed and operational in 1976.
Lake Sacajawea extends 32 miles upstream to Lower Monumental Dam.

Ice Harbor Dam, Lake Sacajawea, and associated facilities are operated for Hydropower, Navigation, Fish & Wildlife, Recreation, Water Quality, and Irrigation.

Quick Facts

  • Stream: Snake River (RM 9.7)
  • Location: Pasco, Washington
  • Owner: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Walla Walla District
  • Authorized Purposes: Hydropower, Navigation (1945 Rivers and Harbors Act)
  • Other Purposes: Recreation, Fish and Wildlife, Water Quality, Irrigation
  • Type of Project: Run-of-River
  • Ice Harbor
  • Completed: 1962
  • Height: 141 feet
  • Length: 2,822 feet
  • Features: powerhouse, spillway, navigation lock, fish passage facilities
  • Forebay Elevation Normal Operating Range: 437-440 feet msl
  • Spillway Capacity (max): 850,000 cfs
  • Generation Capacity: 603 MW, 6 Units
  • Hydraulic Capacity: 106,000 cfs

Authorized Purposes

Ice Harbor Dam has three 90-megawatt turbines and three 111-megawatt turbines, for a total of 603 megawatts. The first of two new advanced technology, “fish-friendly” turbines is scheduled to be operational in 2017
Ice Harbor Dam navigation lock is the fifth of eight locks encountered in the Columbia-Snake Inland Waterway, a 465-mile river highway that allows barge transport of commodities between the Pacific Ocean and Lewiston, ID. In 2015, more than 2.3 million tons of cargo passed through the Ice Harbor lock
Water Quality
Water quality is monitored and managed consistent with Clean Water Act and state standards for the health of aquatic species. During spill for juvenile fish passage at the four Lower Columbia and four Lower Snake River projects, the Corps implements a Water Quality Program to manage total dissolved gas.
Popular recreation activities around Ice Harbor Dam and Lake Sacajawea include fishing, swimming, picnicking, boating, hunting, hiking, and camping. There are 3,517 acres of public lands around Lake Sacajawea utilized for public recreation, wildlife habitat, wildlife mitigation, and water-connected industry.
Currently, there are seven public boat launch facilities and a marina at Charbonneau Park.
Fish & Wildlife
Ice Harbor Dam has two fish ladders—one on each shore—to provide a passage route for upstream-migrating fish, including adult salmon and steelhead, lamprey, shad, and others. Passage routes operated for downstream-migrating fish are the spillway, a spillway weir, and a juvenile bypass system.