USGS science supporting the Elwha River Restoration Project
The Elwha River Restoration Project...
... has reconnected the water, salmon, and sediment of a pristine river and coast of the Olympic Peninsula of Washington. Coordinated by the National Park Service, restoration of the Elwha River included the removal of two large dams that had blocked salmon and sediment passage for almost 100 years. The largest dam removal in U.S. history began in September 2011 and concluded in the summer of 2014. Salmon will be able to spawn in pristine river habitats of the Olympic National Park, and sediment is once again flowing down the river and to the eroding shoreline.
The role of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)...
... in this restoration project is to provide scientific monitoring and analyses of the fish, waters, and sediment, before, during, and after this historic event. This work is coordinated with the Olympic National Park, Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, the Bureau of Reclamation, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and other local and state entities.
Aerial view of former Lake Mills, looking downstream toward Glines Canyon
Scientific Portrait of the Largest Dam Removal in U.S. History
The effects of dam removal are better known as a result of several new studies released by government, tribal, and university researchers.
Undamming Washington’s Elwha River—Public Lecture on Largest Dam Removal in U.S. History
Learn what happened as the gradual removal of two dams released massive amounts of sediment downstream.
New Publication Documents Changes to Elwha River Estuary during Dam Removal
A recently published paper describes dramatic changes to water quality and hydrology of the Elwha River estuary during dam removal.
USGS scientist Jonathan Warrick quoted in New York Times article about coastal effects of Elwha River dam removal
Describes how massive amounts of sediment released during dam removal have altered the coast at the Elwha’s mouth.