DAMS OF THE COLUMBIA BASIN

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Mica Dam

COLUMBIA RIVER 135 KM N OF REVELSTOKE

QUICK FACTS
Mica Dam
Completed: 1973
Operator: BC Hydro
Type: Earth-fill water storage dam

HISTORY

Located 135 km north of Revelstoke, the Mica Dam was the third and final requirement under the Columbia River Treaty signed by Canada and the United States in 1961 and ratified by Canada in 1964. The Treaty ensured the optimum conditions for producing hydroelectricity along the Columbia River downstream in the U.S. and for flood control along the entire river. Construction of the dam, one of the largest earth-filled dams in the world when it was built, began in 1967 and ended on March 23, 1973. In 1977, BC Hydro installed a powerhouse producing 1,792 MW making the Mica Dam the only Columbia River Treaty Canadian Dam to generate power. A village was constructed for the workers and their families near the site. At the peak of construction, it was home to 4000 people. The facilities in the village included a school, community centre, fire hall, police station, grocery store and post office all of closed as needs reduced. When the Revelstoke Dam was constructed in 1984, the village was relocated to higher ground to avoid the rising waters. Today it serves as housing to people who work at the Mica Dam.

Mica Dam created Kinbasket reservoir, covering 21,000 square kilometres (8108 square miles) it is fed by the Columbia, Kicking Horse, Canoe and Wood Rivers. Portions of the vast reservoir surface were logged prior to flooding and to this day, trees are dislodged as the water levels disturb the soil. The reservoir covers the historic Big Bend Highway that was, prior to the completion of the Trans Canada Highway through Rogers Pass in 1962, the route through the Selkirk Mountains.


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