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USGS Science to Support the Elwha River Restoration Project

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Elwha in the News

USGS News Room

“Elwha: One Year Later”

One year after crews began to take down two obsolete dams on Washington state’s Elwha River, the unprecedented restoration is already yielding such signs of life as fish hatchlings, tree saplings and the beginnings of beaches for ongoing study by US Geological Survey scientists and their state, federal and tribal partners.
By Barbara Wilcox
Sept. 28, 2012
USGS Top Science Feature
http://goo.gl/EgMeJ

QUEST

“A River Returns”

In Washington state, a river once known for its abundant salmon run is getting a second chance. The Elwha River dams, which decimated salmon populations and profoundly altered the ecosystem, are coming down and hopes are high that salmon will return.
7-minute video story by Michael James Werner for QUEST Northwest
Oct 23, 2013
http://science.kqed.org/quest/video/a-river-returns/

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KCTS EarthFix

“Undamming the Elwha”

A 26-minute documentary film by Katie Campbell and Michael Werner that describes the Elwha project and the science activities taking place to track the restoration. This film was broadcast Nationwide on public television channels in April of 2012.
http://kcts9.org/undamming-elwha

The New York Times

“A river newly wild and seriously muddy”

PORT ANGELES, Wash. — The Elwha River drains out from Olympic National Park, a pristine place in the world. And as recently as a year ago, the river looked the part: it babbled its final miles in water clear enough to see the bottom. Now it runs thick with grainy sediment the color of chocolate milk. But believe it or not, that is a good thing, or at least the roundabout result of one.
By Kirk Johnson
New York Times staff reporter
August 2, 2012
http://goo.gl/MlNvX

“Removing Barriers to Salmon Migration”

OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK, Wash. — Beginning late this summer, one of the most promising and pure acts of environmental restoration the region and the nation have ever seen will get under way here.
By William Yardley
New York Times staff reporter
July 29, 2011
http://goo.gl/iLioKL

Washington Post

“Elwha Dam removal illustrates growing movement”

The largest dam demolition in the nation's history will begin Saturday when an excavator claws away at the concrete supports for Washington's 108-foot Elwha River Dam, a ceremonial act of destruction that will signal not only the structure's demise but the latest step in a broad shift in the way Americans are managing rivers.
By Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post staff reporter
September 16, 2011
http://goo.gl/QP4Wio

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The Seattle Times

“‘Elwha: A River Reborn’: the resurrection of a river”

In “Elwha: A River Reborn,” Lynda V. Mapes and Steve Ringman document the process of restoring 70 miles of pristine salmon spawning habitat by removing dams on the Olympic Peninsula’s Elwha River.
Book Review by Tim McNulty
May 6, 2013
http://seattletimes.com/html/books/2020917115_bookelwhaxml.html

“Kelp armageddon at the mouth of the Elwha”

There are winners and losers as the Elwha dam removal project underway transforms the Olympic Mountain watershed.
By Lynda Mapes
Seattle Times staff reporter
March 17, 2013
http://goo.gl/yeVpUC

“Dam gone, nature rebuilds Elwha River beach”

After a 100-year retreat, the beach at the mouth of the Elwha River is making a comeback.
By Lynda Mapes
Seattle Times staff reporter
August 5, 2012
http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2018857077_beach06m.html

“The underwater world of the Elwha: a new ecosystem takes shape”

Divers took the plunge last week to investigate the effects on the nearshore environment of dam removal on the Elwha River.
By Lynda Mapes
Seattle Times staff reporter
July 31, 2012
http://goo.gl/lJXtb

“Sediment from Elwha River begins to enter sea”

The Elwha River plume entering the Strait of Juan de Fuca is full of sediment. The higher than normal concentration is a result of the largest controlled release of sediment into a river and marine waters in recorded history.
By Lynda V. Mapes
Seattle Times staff reporter
April 29, 2012
http://goo.gl/pL0YgG

“On the Elwha, a lunar landscape emerges”

Not all of the sediment that has accumulated in the reservoirs will be released downstream. The former reservoir bottoms are emerging and during the early phases are creating a bare landscape. However, a large replanting with native plants by the NPS and Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe is planned and volunteer colonists are arriving on their own.
By Lynda V. Mapes
Seattle Times staff reporter
http://goo.gl/sojeAG

“Elwha River reborn as landscape transforms”

The Elwha River is re-emerging as Lake Aldwell and Lake Mills reservoirs are drawn down in preparation for the beginning of dam removal in September.
By Lynda V. Mapes
Seattle Times staff reporter
http://goo.gl/4vnLLi

“Elwha River finding its natural channel once more”

Already, the Elwha River is starting to look, well, like a river again, as the $350 million federal restoration program, including taking out Elwha and Glines Canyon dams, continues.
By Lynda V. Mapes
Seattle Times staff reporter
http://goo.gl/L3Oj1X

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Smithsonian Magazine

“On the Elwha, A New Life When the Dam Breaks”

The nation's largest and most ambitious dam removal will begin this month, when workers start demolishing two antique dams on Washington state's Elwha River.
By Abigail Tucker
Smithsonian staff writer
September 15, 2011
http://goo.gl/90tkFt

“Preparing for a New River”

The turquoise, snow-fed Elwha River crashes through the cedar forests of Washington's Olympic Peninsula.
By Abigail Tucker
Smithsonian staff writer
December 2011
http://goo.gl/vMWKu0

National Geographic

“Rebirth on the River: Washington’s Elwha Flourishing After Big Dam Removals”

The first signs of life are beginning to return to the Elwha River in Washington State, where the largest dam removal in U.S. history is nearly complete.
By Jason Jaacks
National Geographic Young Explorer
August 29, 2013
http://goo.gl/1wt0oH

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KING 5 News

“Record rain provides research opportunity on Elwha River”

While many of us are running for cover during this record breaking weather week, some scientists are racing for their gear. History is happening on the Elwha River, where two dams were recently removed and heavy rain is creating research opportunities.
By KING 5 News
November 20, 2012
http://goo.gl/Xhfx4T

“Silt from Elwha River dam removal doesn't hang around, say scientists”

PORT ANGELES — Before the historic removal of two dams on the Elwha River, scientists studied all the plant and animal species they could. They wanted to know how a giant plume of silt from the removal project would affect them. Scientists returned to the Elwha Thursday to find out.
By Gary Chittim
KING 5 News
http://goo.gl/a7jKfi

“World's largest dam removal project on the Elwha River”

NEAR PORT ANGELES, Wash. — When two large dams are removed after spending most of the last century altering flows on the Elwha River, the ecosystem will change. Article and 2-minute video from the nightly news broadcast.
By Gary Chittim
KING 5 News
August 8, 2011
http://www.king5.com/news/environment/In-The-Mouth-Of-The-Elwha-127278693.html

Peninsula Daily News

“An undammed Elwha River building beaches again: Crab found where it once was too rocky”

PORT ANGELES — During a recent survey of sediment that flowed down the Elwha River and accrued along a beach to the east of the river mouth, Ian Miller found something he had not yet seen during his surveys.
By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News
October 14, 2013
http://goo.gl/LKqXqT

“Chinook salmon returning to dam-less Elwha River”

OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK — The 2013 fall chinook spawning season was one of the strongest since 1992, and the king salmon are moving into more new habitat in the Elwha River, according to fish biologists.
By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News
October 7, 2013
http://goo.gl/UQgOGx

“Drones are Elwha dam researchers eyes in the sky”

PORT ANGELES — Electronic “Ravens” join hungry raptors, their eyes fixed on the flowing water below, as they swoop over the Elwha River this week. The 4½-foot-wide aircraft, resembling radio-controlled airplanes, are steered by researchers on the ground.
By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News
September 26, 2012
http://goo.gl/Ny7EH

“Divers literally look into silt coming out of mouth of freed Elwha River”

When it comes to the Elwha River, appearances aren't always what they seem. That silt-laden, murky plume flowing through two deconstructed dams and their former lake beds has had minimal effect on the alluvial sea floor at the river's mouth.
Story, video, and gallery by Keith Thorpe
Peninsula Daily News
July 28, 2012
http://goo.gl/eDwPm

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