"Largest U.S. Dam Removal to Restore Salmon Runs"

On Washington's Olympic Peninsula, the nation's largest dam-removal project to day is poised to restore ancient salmon runs.

"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.

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."

Ker Than reports for National Geographic News August 31, 2011.

Source: National Geographic, 09/06/2011