Talk on the Elwha Dam Removals by Eric Kessler- April 11th – Port Townsend

S'Klallam woman watching dam removalphoto by Eric Kessler

Undamming the Elwha River
April 1, 2013
PORT TOWNSEND— On April 11, photographer and naturalist Eric Kessler will retrace the long, remarkable journey that led to the undamming of the Elwha River. His slide show and talk will offer a broad overview of the ecological, cultural, and political issues surrounding the largest project of its kind to date in the U.S. The program is sponsored by the Natural History Society of the Jefferson Land Trust.
“An amazing collage of circumstances, spanning four presidential administrations and 18 Congressional appropriations bills, came together to allow this landmark event to happen,” Kessler says. “And the restoration is playing out on multiple levels,” he adds. Re-establishing the salmon runs and renewing the flow of nutrients to streams and forests will benefit the Elwha ecosystem. Redressing the treaty obligations between the state and federal governments and about 40 tribes around Puget Sound will benefit the Lower S’Klallam people. And rectifying Washington State’s decades-long neglect of fish passage regulations and environmental protection on the Elwha will restore the trust of citizens. “Each of these threads has a fascinating story, but the big picture—the magnitude of what’s happening on the river and all the levels on which wrongs are being corrected—is even more powerful,” he says. Moreover, the Elwha represents a template for other dam river removals and restoration efforts around the country.
An avid wilderness explorer and traveler, Kessler’s career as a freelance photographer spans 25 years. His natural history photos, shot in dozens of locations around the world, have appeared in a wide range of publications on outdoor recreation, travel, and more. A long-time resident of Washington, he has worked around and photographed the Elwha River on the Olympic Peninsula for nearly two decades. Recently he has focused on documenting the three-year process of removing the Elwha and Glines Canyon dams and the restoration of the river. He currently splits his time between San Juan Island with his two children and the Olympic Peninsula with his partner.
The program will take place at 7:00 pm in the Cotton Building, 607 Water Street, Port Townsend. It is free and open to the public, but a $5 donation would be appreciated to help defray the costs.

Publicity contact: Noreen Parks 379-4007
For interviews and photos, contact Eric Kessler at

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