Dams with history and purpose: Hydropower

Development of Hydropower began in 1933 when Puget Sound Power and Light Company completed Rock Island Dam in 1933 a short distance downstream from Wenatchee. It was the first dam on the mainstream Columbia River, and it was not a multiple-purpose dam. Its sole purpose was to generate electricity.

Construction on Grand Coulee and Bonneville dams began in 1933 with Bonneville completed in 1938 and Grand Coulee completed in 1941 with an additional build out completed in 1974.

  • Rocky Reach Dam was completed in 1961, Wells Dam in 1967. Rocky Reach Dam does operated a visitor Center along with the Museum of the Columbia, a juvenile fish bypass system, balconies offering panoramic views of the dam, a 90 seat theater that shows movies throughout the day and upon request. Guided tours are also available by appointment.
  • Wells Dam began generating in 1967 and includes a safe fish bypass, and a hatchery dedicated to the production of steelhead and summer Chinook for enhancement of natural production and to provide harvest opportunities, white sturgeon for a restoration program, and trout, kokanee and land locked Chinook to provide recreational fishing opportunities in regional waters. Wells Hatchery was constructed by Douglas PUD in 1967 and is adjacent to the Wells Hydroelectric Project.
  • Rock Island Dam was the first dam to span the Columbia River about 12 miles downriver from the city of Wenatchee.
  • Lake Chelan Dam is at the lower southeasterly end of 50.4 mile-long Lake Chelan, adjacent to the City of Chelan. The Powerhouse is located near the community of Chelan Falls.