A river returns … Dam removal in the Elwha River

In the remote northwest of the US, Washington (48.0950°N, 123.5604°W) in the Elwha River, great things are happening. The movie “A river returns” tells the story of the Elwha River which had been highly impacted by the construction of two major dams in the early 1900s. Now, about 100 years later the two dams are removed which allows the native salmon to migrate upstream again. This dam removal project was the largest of its kind in the US so far. In the US there are nearly 80 000 dams of which 750 are currently slated for removal.

However, the dam removal also comes with the problems of high sediments loads that were deposited during the last decades. Until its full recovery and the the depletion of the sediment depots, so until salmon can migrate in clear water again it will take about 5-10 years according to the scientists. Moreover this project shows also the importance but also great opportunity to bring together an ecologically meaningful river restoration project and the involvement of local people like the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe in this case, people that have always been associated with the river and its salmon.

Here is the link to the movie about Elwha River: http://video.pbs.org/viralplayer/2365091774/

Here, I also want to refer to an older post about another movie focusing on dam removal called DamNation.

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