Elwha River Dam Removals begins

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Rand
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Elwha River Dam Removals begins

Post by Rand » Mon Sep 26, 2011 7:12 pm

In Washington State's Olympic Peninsula, members of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe still tell stories of a time when the Elwha River was so full of salmon that a person could cross from one bank to the other by walking atop the thrashing bodies of fish struggling to move upstream.

No one has attempted such a feat since two dams were built, near the mouth of the river, in the early 20th century, blocking salmon runs.

But on September 15, officials in Olympic National Park will begin the long process of dismantling the Elwha and Glines Canyon dams on the Elwha River. (See a map of the region.)

The largest dam-removal undertaking in U.S. history, the project could serve as an inspiration and a model for similar enterprises in other parts of the country, conservationists say.
elwhawatershed.jpg
The NPS has a nice site with webcams and time lapse slide shows showing the removal:
s2latest.jpg
http://www.video-monitoring.com/constru ... pic/js.htm

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edfrank
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Re: Elwha River Dam Removals begins

Post by edfrank » Mon Sep 26, 2011 9:30 pm

I have been reading about this, but hadn't posted anything. Nice graphics.
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

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Rand
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Re: Elwha River Dam Removals begins

Post by Rand » Mon Sep 26, 2011 10:34 pm

Yeah, I've seen the glacial progress of this project pop up now and again in the news over the years. It's nice to see they got the ball rolling finally.

They removed a couple of dams in New England hoping to bring the atlantic salmon back. Last I heard it wasn't working as expected. Anyone figure out why?
Of course the Cod aren't coming back as expected either, so perhaps they are related.

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PAwildernessadvocate
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Re: Elwha River Dam Removals begins

Post by PAwildernessadvocate » Tue Sep 27, 2011 6:45 pm

I'm excited about this, it has been a very, very long time coming. So much political wrangling, so much red tape to wade through. The largest dam removal project in U.S. history. After both dams are out it will restore one of the greatest salmon runs in the world, the Elwha River drainage. I've seen both dams in person, and backpacked into the backcountry of the Elwha drainage it's stunningly beautiful country.

Here are animations showing what the process will look like for both dams:

Elwha (lower) Dam:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKGlt00PVzE

Glines Canyon (upper) Dam:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BdBjJ-ikS3M

Glines Canyon Dam demo begins:

http://vimeo.com/29117360

http://vimeo.com/29117360
"There is no better way to save biodiversity than by preserving habitat, and no better habitat, species for species, than wilderness." --Edward O. Wilson

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PAwildernessadvocate
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Re: Elwha River Dam Removals begins

Post by PAwildernessadvocate » Mon Apr 23, 2012 10:31 pm

Program: KCTS 9 Documentaries
Episode: Undamming the Elwha

The journey of the Elwha river from the day it was dammed to the day it was set free. KCTS 9 and EarthFix chronicle the historic removal of two dams from the Elwha River, and show how it will impact people, salmon and the environment for years to come.

Watch online here (26:46):

http://video.kcts9.org/video/2223977275
"There is no better way to save biodiversity than by preserving habitat, and no better habitat, species for species, than wilderness." --Edward O. Wilson

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Rand
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Re: Elwha River Dam Removals begins

Post by Rand » Tue May 01, 2012 9:17 pm

Some updates on the demoliton:


The Elwha dam:
Elwha-before.jpg
Is no more:
Elwha-after.jpg
Glines Canyon:
glines-before.jpg
Is still a work in progress. If I remember correctly they need to let the lake level down gradually so the lower river is not overwhelmed with a sudden release of silt that has accumulated behind the dam.
glines-after.jpg

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PAwildernessadvocate
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Re: Elwha River Dam Removals begins

Post by PAwildernessadvocate » Wed May 02, 2012 8:26 am

Here are a couple of articles about the silt from dam removal now entering the Strait of Juan de Fuca from the Elwha. Most of this is from behind where the lower dam was, as that dam is now completely removed.

I'm sure all of this sediment will replenish Ediz Hook quite nicely now. (Ediz Hook is the big spit that creates the natural harbor for Port Angeles - sort of like Presque Isle & Erie.) Hang on just a little longer salmon, very good times are a-comin' soon!

This whole process almost makes me wish I was living in Port Angeles again so I could watch the whole thing unfold first-hand!

http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/artic ... lwha-river
The big muddy: Sediment plume pours out of newly freed Elwha River

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/f ... hotos.html
Elwha sediment not just mud, it's nourishment



Click on image to see its original size
"There is no better way to save biodiversity than by preserving habitat, and no better habitat, species for species, than wilderness." --Edward O. Wilson

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Rand
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Re: Elwha River Dam Removals begins

Post by Rand » Wed May 02, 2012 10:03 am

Thanks. Those were interesting. I've always heard about dams trapping sediment, but didn't realize they cause the lower reaches to be preferentially depleted of finer silt that the salmon need to make their nests in.

RyanLeClair
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Re: Elwha River Dam Removals begins

Post by RyanLeClair » Wed May 02, 2012 5:23 pm

Glad to hear this happening. Sierra Club is actually doing a summer service trip to the Elwha River (wanted to go but can't!), and maybe that trip has something to do with the dam coming down.

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edfrank
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Re: Elwha River Dam Removals begins

Post by edfrank » Wed May 02, 2012 10:10 pm

Rand,

What is the source of the photos you just posted yesterday?

Ed
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

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