The project was authorized by the River and Harbor Act of 1945.
Little Goose construction started in June 1963. The filling of Lake Bryan began on Feb.16, 1970, and continued until elevation 638 feet was reached on Feb. 25, 1970. The Ice Harbor Lock was open to navigation in May 1970. The installation of power generating units one through three was completed, and the first unit began producing power in March 1970. Additional power units four through six were installed and power for those units came online in July 1978. Revisions were made to the juvenile fish facility in 1982 and 1984.
The project includes a dam, navigation lock, power plant, fish ladder and appurtenant facilities. It provides navigation, hydroelectric power generation, recreation and incidental irrigation.
Little Goose Dam
The dam is 2,655 feet long with an effective height of about 100 feet. It is located on the Snake River near Starbuck, Wash., and upstream of Lake West, the reservoir formed by Lower Monumental Dam. It is a concrete gravity dam with an earthfill abutment embankment. It includes a navigation lock and eightbay spillway 512 feet long, which has eight 50 feet by 60 feet tainter gates.
Lake Bryan extends upstream about 37.2 miles and provides navigation to Lower Granite Lock and Dam. It has a surface area of 10,025 acres.
The powerhouse has six 135,000-kilowatt units – 810 megawatt total powerhouse capacity. During fiscal year 2015, more than 1.77 billion kilowatt hours of electricity were produced.
Little Goose has a single-lift lock, 86 feet wide by 668 feet long, with a 100-foot vertical lift. More than 1.9 million tons of commodities passed through the Little Goose navigation lock during 2015.
Adult fish passage facilities include one ladder with entrances on both shores and a fish channel through the spillway, which connects to the powerhouse fish collection system and south shore ladder. Modifications to improve adult Pacific Lamprey passage include ladder improvements, passage structures and installation of metal plating to assist lamprey upstream. A juvenile bypass facility became operational in 1970. This system was modified several times.
During 2015, about 2.2 million out migrating juvenile salmon and steelhead were collected at the Juvenile Fish Facility. 477,086 fish were bypassed back into the river, and about 1.8 million were transported for release below Bonneville Lock and Dam. In 2009, a spillway weir was installed to improve conditions for juvenile salmon passage at the dam. A passive integrated transponder (PIT)-tag monitoring system was completed prior to the 2009 fish passage season. This system improved detection of downstream migrating PIT-tagged juveniles.
There are 5,398 acres of project lands surrounding Lake Bryan. These lands include fee lands that are federally owned and managed by the Corps as well as easement lands to which the Corps has specific rights or easements (such as flowage or access). There are 5,142.9 acres of Corps managed lands used for public recreation purposes, wildlife habitat, wildlife mitigation, and water-connected industrial development. Two areas totaling approximately 150 acres are licensed either to the state or local port for recreation. Lake Bryan provides seven day-use sites, five campgrounds, five boat launching areas and two swimming areas. During fiscal year 2015, total visitation was more than 166,000.
About 50 Walla Walla District employees work at the Little Goose Lock and Dam and facilities. They serve as electricians, lock operators, mechanics, welders, riggers, painters, utility workers, heavy equipment operators, park rangers, biologists, environmental resource specialists, administrative staff, engineers and maintenance workers. Together, they manage the safe and continuous operation of the project.
During fiscal year 2015, total expenditures were about $10.2 million for the Little Goose Project.