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LocalFreedom for the Elwha

September 16, 2014

This time-lapse photo of the Elwha River was taken on July 12, 2014 by the National Park Service/US Bureau of Reclamation webcam.

The time-lapse photo of the Elwha River on July 12, 2014 by the webcam

The photo is taken by NPS/USBR Elwha Restoration

The Elwha River is flowing freely because of dam removal. Large numbers of salmon are swimming up the river again. Life is returning to the Elwha.

The Elwha River goes from the Olympic Mountains to the Pacific Ocean. Around 100 years ago, two dams were built on the Elwha to produce electricity.

But the dams had a big problem: no fish ladders. The salmon could not go beyond the first dam on the river. They could not lay eggs (spawn) upstream in their home. Without the salmon, many animals left and native plants died.

The U.S. government listened to the Lower Elwha Klallam Indian tribe and others about the bad condition of the river. In March 2012, workers removed the Elwha dam. In September, 2014 they took down the last piece of Glines Canyon Dam.

Now the Elwha is finding its natural path, and the future looks bright. The lakes (reservoirs) behind the dams are gone, so new forests are growing. Bear, otters, mink, cougars, and bobcats are coming back to eat the fish. And the numbers of Elwha fish will return to a healthy 400,000 in about twenty years.

This government project cost $325 million.

For more photos and information about the project, visit the Elwha Restoration Facebook page

Published September 2014

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Comments (2)


  1. elena thayer says:

    This article was made me think about hydroelectric power producer in the United States, with a total generating capacity of 6,809 megawatts.In 2013, Washington had the lowest residential electricity prices in the nation and the lowest combined electricity price across all sectors.What does it means prices on electricity going up, if ” dams were built on the Elwha to produce electricity”?

  2. ziru.tan says:

    Gavernment can cost $325 million to move the dam away. that’s unbelievable in china. I hate that the people always destroy forests, rivers.lakes…so sad.

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