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Elwha Dam Removal Project Completed

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avatar Elwha Dam Removal Project Completed
October 16, 2014 11:45AM
On August 26th, the last section of the Glines Canyon Dam was reduced to rubble with one final blast. During the last week of September, the contractor finished removing rubble and debris from the river channel and began packing up. The largest dam removal project in U.S. history is now complete. Removal of Glines Canyon Dam is a major milestone in the story of Elwha River restoration, but it is not the end of the story.

As a new month begins and the contractor starts the process of demobilizing from the dam site, Olympic National Park staff are beginning to prepare the area for its public reopening by next summer. Over the winter, infrastructure repairs and improvements, including new parking areas, privies, guardrails, interpretive waysides, and trails, will transform the former dam site into a visitor overlook. The approaching season of wet weather will continue to move sediment downstream and reshape the riparian and near shore landscapes. Trees, shrubs, and forbs are being planted and seeded in the drained reservoirs and anadromous fish are migrating above Glines Canyon Dam for the first time in over 100 years.

Within a week of the last blast at Glines Canyon Dam, fisheries biologists confirmed that two radio tagged bull trout had migrated through Glines Canyon and were upstream of former Lake Mills in Rica Canyon. Last week, a second snorkel survey confirmed that naturally migrating chinook had spawned above Glines Canyon Dam for the first time in over 100 years.

Dam removal is finished, but this is just the beginning of Elwha River restoration.
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