"Elwha River: Recovery Proceeds Despite Sediment Setbacks"

"One of the two dams on the Elwha River has been completely removed and there are about 50 feet of the remaining Glines Canyon dam left. Already so much sediment has been released that its clogged up and shut down one of the water treatment plants in nearby Port Angeles, temporarily halting the largest dam removal project in U.S. history."

"While sediment is a problem for infrastructure people rely on, it’s providing excellent new habitat for fish and wildlife in the Elwha watershed on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula.

“In a matter of five months we’ve gone from this barren, hostile environment to new estuary with really high-quality small sand,” says Anne Shaffer, executive director of the Coastal Watershed Institute in Port Angeles. Since 2007, Shaffer’s non-profit has been conducting research at the mouth of the Elwha, eight miles below the dam site. The institute is trying to find out how many fish are using the estuary where the river flows into the Strait of Juan de Fuca."

Ashley Ahearn reports for EarthFix on KUOW in the first of a two-part series May 8, 2013.


Part Two: "Which Fish Get To Recolonize After Elwha’s Dams Are Gone?"

Thursday, May 9, 2013
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