facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Washington State's Elwha River flows free once again

"It's a good day. It was the last spot [blocking the] fish to access the rest of the river," said Robert Ellefson, the Elwha restoration manager for the Lower Elwha Klallam tribe.
By Brooks Hays   |   Aug. 27, 2014 at 1:11 PM   |   Comments

OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK, Wash., Aug. 27 (UPI) -- With one last blast of dynamite on Tuesday, the remaining chunks of cement making up what was once Glines Canyon Dam were dislodged and destroyed, freeing Washington State's Elwha River for the first time in more than a century.

Though a bit of rubble remains -- rubble which will be cleaned up in the coming weeks -- the river is now free to cut its own course, free of man-made obstacles. In addition to returning to a natural pathway to the sea, its water levels will also normalize.

"It's done," Barb Maynes, spokeswoman for Olympic National Park, told the Peninsula Daily News. "We accomplished what was planned."

The accomplishment didn't come cheap. The cost of the restoration project, which began in 2011 and will continue through 2016, stands at $325 million. The Glines Canyon Dam, built in 1927, was one of two major dams clogging the Elwha. The removal of Elwha Dam, built in 1913, was completed in 2012.

The removal of the two dams -- which ecologists say will facilitate the return of all five native salmon species -- has been heralded by the local Native American tribe.

"It's a good day. It was the last spot [blocking the] fish to access the rest of the river," Robert Ellefson, the Elwha restoration manager for the Lower Elwha Klallam tribe, told the local paper. "It has been the dream of tribal members for a hundred years."

In addition to enabling a healthier salmon run, the newly unblocked river will also ferry once-trapped sediment down to its mouth and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, replenishing beaches along Crescent Bay and Ediz Hook, which have long been choked of fresh sands.

Topics: Juan de Fuca
© 2014 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Most Popular
1
6,000-year-old temple discovered in prehistoric Ukraine settlement 6,000-year-old temple discovered in prehistoric Ukraine settlement
2
An ancient tsunami wrecked Hawaii; it could happen again An ancient tsunami wrecked Hawaii; it could happen again
3
NASA orbiter beams back images of Siding Spring comet NASA orbiter beams back images of Siding Spring comet
4
DC drone hobbyists in limbo over flying locations DC drone hobbyists in limbo over flying locations
5
Study: Fish just wanna have fun Study: Fish just wanna have fun
Trending News
Around the Web
x
Feedback