Elwha River Dam Removals begins

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PAwildernessadvocate
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Re: Elwha River Dam Removals begins

Post by PAwildernessadvocate » Thu Jan 30, 2014 12:55 pm

Dam removal and restoration at the lower dam site has been complete for some time now. Salmon are once again naturally spawning in the Elwha River above the lower dam site.

Dam removal at the upper dam site is almost complete! Just a few more blasts ought to do it. The most recent one was Sunday:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=70 ... =2&theater

Just to think of all that pristine salmon habitat in the Elwha watershed within Olympic National Park (also a designated wilderness area) that will be available to the salmon next year!
"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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Re: Elwha River Dam Removals begins

Post by Rand » Thu Jan 30, 2014 4:09 pm

I've looked at the map of the olympic peninsula and I notice several other rivers leaving the park and flowing west (queets, hoh, bogachiel, etc). Is there something special about the Elwha that makes it a better salmon stream than these others?

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Re: Elwha River Dam Removals begins

Post by PAwildernessadvocate » Fri Jan 31, 2014 2:21 am

Rand wrote:I've looked at the map of the olympic peninsula and I notice several other rivers leaving the park and flowing west (queets, hoh, bogachiel, etc). Is there something special about the Elwha that makes it a better salmon stream than these others?
The Elwha is the largest watershed of all of the rivers of the Olympic Peninsula, and a much higher percentage of its watershed is located within the protected park than any of the other rivers. Also, it is in general steeper than the west-flowing rivers, so over the eons selected for bigger, stronger fish. The accounts of 100-pound Elwha king (chinook) salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) are legendary. Here's a passage from Olympic Peninsula naturalist Tim McNulty:
The Elwha River salmon runs were legendary. In his book Mountain in the Clouds, Bruce Brown notes that as early as 1790 the Spanish explorer Manuel Quimper recorded purchasing a number of 100-pound salmon from nearby Indians. Reports of large Elwha Chinook remained common through the early years of this century as well, and it's estimated that at one time more than a quarter million pink salmon spawned in the Elwha River. The largest of the Olympic National Park's watersheds, the Elwha was undoubtedly one of the most productive. The river supported 10 distinct runs of anadromous fish, including all five species of local Pacific salmon. It was one of the few rivers in the contiguous United States that harbored all the ocean-running fish species native to the Northwest….

…In its lower reaches…it narrows into a series of steep canyons and shoulders through a notch called Goblin's Gate. Only the most vigorous wild salmon could make it through these canyons to spawn. Records suggest that Elwha Chinook may have remained at sea longer to gain the size and strength needed to surmount the canyons. They were certainly the largest Chinook in any Olympic river….Equally impressive runs of coho, pink, sockeye, and chum salmon, steelhead, sea-run cutthroat trout, char, and bull trout spawned in its pristine mountain waters….

In 1913, all that changed. That was the year the Olympic Power Company began operations of its Elwha Dam….
--Tim McNulty. 1996. Olympic National Park: A Natural History Guide. Houghton Mifflin Company.
"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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Re: Elwha River Dam Removals begins

Post by Rand » Fri Jan 31, 2014 8:02 am

Okay, thanks. That clears it up. Should make the Native Americans happy at the very least.

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Re: Elwha River Dam Removals begins

Post by PAwildernessadvocate » Fri Jan 31, 2014 5:45 pm

Yes, the Lower Elwha Klallam tribe is ecstatic.

http://www.elwha.org/elwhariverrestoration.html
"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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Re: Elwha River Dam Removals begins

Post by Rand » Sun Mar 02, 2014 10:43 am

Timelapse of the Elwha River delta 1939-2013

http://fly-fishing-blog.patagonia.com/p ... s-begins-a

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Re: Elwha River Dam Removals begins

Post by PAwildernessadvocate » Mon Mar 10, 2014 9:46 am

A new movie about dam removal across the country called "DamNation" is premiering today at the South by Southwest event in Austin, TX. Looks pretty good!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxdGNbwWhFU
"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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Re: Elwha River Dam Removals begins

Post by Rand » Sat Jul 19, 2014 8:17 pm

PAwildernessadvocate wrote:A new movie about dam removal across the country called "DamNation" is premiering today at the South by Southwest event in Austin, TX. Looks pretty good!
That's pretty informative
(It's now up for rent on iTunes/google play)

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Re: Elwha River Dam Removals begins

Post by Rand » Mon Jul 21, 2014 11:35 am

A few youtube videos

Time lapse of both dams coming down:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m96VcCF4Ess

A lecture on salmon and ecological changes recovery in the river:

http://vimeo.com/48413674

Coastal response to dam removals

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gsYmKOY5yU

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Re: Elwha River Dam Removals begins

Post by PAwildernessadvocate » Wed Aug 27, 2014 10:18 am

Last blast yesterday, that oughta do it. That's the last of the upper dam remnant. Now the salmon will have full access to all portions of the Elwha drainage that they did before the dams went in a century ago. Yay!

http://vimeo.com/104477358

It will be cool to see footage of the salmon returning to the upper Elwha later this fall.
"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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