Thursday, February 16, 2006

Elwha is a laboratory for students & researchers

High school students are studying the Elwha ecosystem, and will monitor the impacts of the dam removal, reports the Bainbridge Island Review...

(Photo courtesy Bainbridge Island Review)

Friday, February 10, 2006

$20 million for Elwha dam removal

The Bush admistration's budget, released this week, contains $20 million for the removal of the Elwha River's dams.

American Rivers called the Elwha funding a bright spot in a budget that is a "mixed bag" for rivers.

Read more

Friday, February 03, 2006

Removal of Elwha dams edges closer

The time to begin scientific research on the Elwha is now, says Olympic National Park's Jerry Freilich.

"Critical scientific research in a host of areas needs to be conducted now in order to study ecological changes expected after the historic dams' removal."

Read more in the Sequim Gazette

Monday, January 23, 2006

Oregon's Sandy River dams coming down in 2007

The AP's Jeff Barnard reports on the two dams that will be removed to restore Oregon's Sandy River, between 2007 to 2008.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Dams exacerbate flood threat

For decades, the two dams on the Elwha River have held back sand and sediment needed to replenish the beaches at the river's mouth. Without a regular influx of sediment, the beaches have been eroding putting waterfront residents at risk of flooding.

With western Washington now in its 24th consecutive day of rain, storm damage and flooding are a concern.

But as this article from the Peninsula Daily News (1-6-06) states:

"Even if federal authorities come through with flood-control devices, they'd only slow down the Strait's incursion into the reservation. Only removing the Elwha and Glines Canyon dams on the river will allow it to replenish the beach and perhaps rebuild Angeles Point."

A boom in river restoration

A study by a group of freshwater ecologists published in the April 2005 issue of the journal Science found that river restoration is on the rise nationwide. Specifically --

  • At least $14 to 15 billion has been invested in river restoration projects
  • More than 37,000 river restoration projects have been undertaken since 1990
  • The Pacific Northwest, California, and the Chesapeake Bay watershed are hotspots for river restoration

"River restoration is evolving from an art into a science," said Duke University's Dr. Emily Bernhardt.

"It's no mystery why river restoration is booming," said Andrew Fahlund of American Rivers. "Rivers in good condition more readily meet the needs of the surrounding community than polluted and degraded rivers."

Read more

Friday, December 02, 2005

Elwha Dam and Lake Aldwell

Photo: Ross Freeman

Elwha River, before Elwha Dam

Photo: Olympic National Park archives

Glines Canyon, after

Photo: Scott Church

Glines Canyon, before

Photo: Olympic National Park archives

Other dam removals in the news

Montana's Blackfoot River is free-flowing, now that Bonner Dam has been removed

North Carolina's Deep River will be restored when the Carbonton Dam comes down in Jan '06

Efforts to remove Savage Rapids Dam from Oregon's Rogue River are moving forward

Elwha story on NPR, 11-30-05

NPR featured a story on the Elwha restoration effort on November 30, 2005

Listen to the story

All in all, the story mentioned more of the downsides of dam removal as opposed to the many benefits -- to people, the river, the salmon, and the ecosystem.

On the issue of lost hydropower production, the Elwha dams provide a very small amount of power (about 28 megawatts) and the sole beneficiary of this power is a single mill in Port Angeles. Further, the regional power grid will easily make up for that lost power once the dams come down. As for the sediment in the reservoirs, the Park Service has a plan in place to manage the sediment and protect the salmon.

Visit American Rivers to learn about the benefits of restoring the Elwha River.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Who gets the land?

When the reservoir known as Lake Aldwell is drained following the removal of the 112-foot Elwha Dam, who will own the new riverside land?

Today's story in the Peninsula Daily News explores the options, and notes that the public will certainly get a say in the decision.

Read the story