16-031 Lower Granite Dam offers ‘behind-the-scenes’ guided tours

Published May 24, 2016
POMEROY, Wash. – Visitors at Lower Granite Lock and Dam can get behind-the-scenes tours of the powerhouse, navigation lock and fish passage facilities – areas ordinarily off-limits to public access, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials announced today.

“By getting an up-close look at how things really work, visitors can not only get a better understanding of how water is used to makes clean, renewable energy, but they can see first-hand how the fish passage system works to ensure safe passage of Salmon and Steelhead. A 2-million-pound removable spillway weir for fish, which won a national engineering award in 2003, has always been a tour highlight,” says Dawn Waldal, Lower Granite’s interpretive park ranger. “And now with several major construction and maintenance projects currently underway, there are many new and exciting things to see.”

Recent and ongoing work projects include:
-- a temperature improvement system recently added to the fish ladder to help adult fish pass upstream,
-- a new juvenile bypass system upgrade, including a massive, above-ground, bypass flume under construction to improve fish survival as they migrate downstream past the dam,
-- inside the powerhouse, a hydropower generator and turbine runner is being dismantled and overhauled.

Tours are offered Saturdays and Sundays at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. through Oct. 31. Weekday tours are often available on request or can be scheduled to ensure a tour guide is available. Large groups or field trips can be arranged by contacting the visitor center at 509-843-1493, ext. 214, or by emailing TourLowerGranite@usace.army.mil.

Tours begin at the visitor center on the south side of the Snake River. The road running across the dam is open for public crossing daily during visitor center hours, making it more convenient for people traveling from areas on the north side of the river.

Tour participants should check in at the Visitor Center 10-15 minutes early with official photo identification (age 18+) and wearing closed-toe shoes. No cameras, camera-enabled phones or bags will be allowed in secure areas. All participants must be U.S. citizens, unless pre-registered at least 30 days in advance. Non-U.S. citizens can pre-register by contacting Lower Granite’s park ranger at 509-843-1493, ext 214.

For additional information and current updates, check out the dam’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/LowerGraniteDam, or call or stop by the visitor center, open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Public Affairs Office

Release no. 16-031