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USGS Science to Support the Elwha River Restoration Project

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What We Do

Photo of sockeye salmon.Salmon and Other Wildlife

The primary goal of the Elwha River Restoration Project is to restore the once vibrant salmon populations of the river by reintroducing spawning salmon to the upper watershed. Removal of the two dams on the Elwha River will allow these salmon to return to pristine spawning grounds within the Olympic National Park. Spawning salmon are also important as a food and nutrient source to other wildlife, including bear and raccoon.

The USGS is an active research and monitoring partner of the fish and wildlife of the Elwha River. More information

USGS scientists Amy Draut (left) and Josh Logan set up a ground-based lidar (light detection and ranging) scanner to measure the topography of the lower Elwha River flood plain.River Studies

The USGS is measuring the discharge of water and sediment in the Elwha River and monitoring the Elwha River channel and its habitats, for the purpose of tracking how the river system changes during and following dam removal. We are also using historical information—such as photographs and written records—in combination with aerial imagery and lidar surveys to track how the river channel has changed during the past century and following the dam removal project. More information

Aerial photograph of the estuarine area at the mouth of the Elwha. Photo by Patrick B. Shafroth, USGS.Estuary

The estuary of the Elwha River is an important refuge for fish and wildlife and serves as a transition and mixing zone between river and water coastal waters. The USGS has partnered with the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe to provide measurements and a better understanding of the movement of water and sediment within the estuary, and the ecological importance of this narrow zone between land and sea. More information

Aerial photograph of the mouth and coastal area of the Elwha. Photo by Patrick B. Shafroth, USGS.Shoreline and Coastal

During the 100 years of damming on the Elwha River, the coastal zone lost an important supply of sediment. The USGS has been working with partners to measure the effects of sediment supplies on shoreline erosion and coastal habitats and ecosystems. More information

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Page Contact Information: Laura Zink Torresan
Page Last Modified: 25 August 2015 (lzt)