Elwha Roaring Back to Life – Seattle Times

Great aerial photography of the new Elwha river and a wonderful story with illustrations. While the jury is still out on the long term viability of the returning salmon runs, it does appear, at this early point, that the project is a success. But we won’t know for sure for probably at least 30 years. In the meantime, enjoy the view, and give thanks to the Lower Elwha Tribe, and the individuals and politicians of both parties here on the Peninsula that supported this effort, funded it, and are helping to restore it. The whole world is really watching this one.

 

ELWHA RIVER — The Elwha watershed is booming with new life, after the world’s largest dam removal.

The first concrete went flying in September 2011, and Elwha Dam was out the following March. Glines Canyon Dam upriver tumbled for good in September 2014. Today the river roars through the tight rock canyon once plugged by Elwha Dam, and surges past the bald, rocky hill where the powerhouse stood. The hum of the generators is replaced by the river singing in full voice, shrugging off a century of confinement like it never happened. Nature’s resurgence is visible everywhere.

http://projects.seattletimes.com/2016/elwha/

With dams down, restored Elwha River mouth ‘a treasure – PDN

The Elwha recovery continues.

No one, not even among those studying the ecology of the Elwha River mouth, expected the degree of change seen there after the dams came down, according to a woman who has researched it for years. An area that once was little more than large cobbles is now a vast tract of quiet, sandy beach speckled with hundreds of seabirds and brushed by ocean waves. It contains pools constantly dimpled by the jumping of fish. Sometimes, looking at the acres of new beach — and the new life it now supports — she nearly cries, said Anne Shaffer, a marine biologist and the executive director of the Coastal Watershed Institute of Port Angeles. Arwyn Rice and Leah Leach report. (Peninsula Daily News)

http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20151108/NEWS/311089987/with-dams-down-restored-elwha-river-mouth-a-treasure

See also:  Who owns new Elwha River land? Discussions begin about ownership, responsibilityhttp://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20151108/news/311089974/who-owns-new-elwha-river-land-discussions-begin-about-ownership Arwyn Rice reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Silt, sediment and change: Federal government releases scientific studies on Elwha River dam removal – PDN

First wave of scientific studies on the Elwha since the dam removal

Five peer-reviewed studies on the effects of the Elwha River dam removal were released this week. Authors with the U.S. Geological Survey, Bureau of Reclamation, National Park Service, Washington Sea Grant, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries, the Lower Elwha Klallam tribe and the University of Washington provide detailed observations about the changes in the river’s landforms, waters and coastal zone during the first two years of dam removal, which began in 2011. In the largest dam removal project in U.S. history, the Elwha and Glines Canyon dams were demolished, allowing the river to revert to its wild state. The five new papers can be found in Elsevier’s peer-reviewed journal, Geomorphology, which can be found at www.journals.elsevier.com/geomorphology. (Peninsula Daily News)

http://peninsuladailynews.com/article/20150218/news/302189985/silt-sediment-and-change-federal-government-releases-scientific

Video: Coastal Watershed Institute Elwha Sampling

The work continues on the Great Healing of the Elwha.

Anne Shaffer of CWI writes: “At our January long term sampling of the Elwha estuary and lower river we documented-for the first time after looking for over a decade-hundreds of gravid and spent eulachon, Thaleichthys pacificus, and a gravid female long fin smelt, Spirinchus thaleichthys. These   forage fish, which are federally listed along areas of the west coast due to their  precipitous decline, are-literally-the backbone of coastal cultures and nearshore ecosystems…. Within five months of the dam removal ending, these fish are literally flooding the system, feeding dozens of harbor seals and thousands of birds.”

Elwha spit continues its growth

ElwhaEstuary12_31_2015The Elwha Spit 12/31/2014. Photo courtesy of (Tom Roorda and Coastal Watershed Institute)

Storms bring massive amounts of Elwha River sediment downstream – PDN

The Peninsula Daily News covers the changes happening to the Elwha. The recent storms have washed massive amounts of sediment down the river, as planned. The article doesn’t mention that this late December storm, with the record temperatures we are having, means that snowpack will not be as low as it once was. This adds to the volume of water coming down the river, which in pre-industrial days would have been trapped in snow and more slowly released in the spring.

Worth a read if you follow the Elwha story.

http://peninsuladailynews.com/article/20141223/NEWS/312239990/storms-bring-massive-amounts-of-elwha-river-sediment-downstream

Environmental Tech Startup Demonstrates New Mapping of Elwha

These guys are doing some very interesting new technology. Check them out.

The Elwha Project

Flying FishViews Announcement, November 12, 2014

This morning Flying FishViews Inc. (F2V) released an innovative approach for interacting with rivers,coasts and shores, demonstrated by the first-ever panoramic tour of Washington State’s Elwha River.

F2V’s digital maps (called FishViews) offer a unique perspective for navigating rivers online. Using street view-style panoramic imagery, collected from the surface of the water and fused with other location-specific information like water quality data, F2V is delivering a comprehensive visual and data-driven experience that enables science, recreation and conservation. Available on the website F2V.me, the Elwha River FishView tour shows F2V’s commitment to our waterways by demonstrating online access to digital maps of aquatic environments. (Go directly to the Elwha River tour at: http://F2V.me/elwha-river.html)

F2V is a Seattle-based tech startup that spent the last 18 months developing technology to capture FishViews, a fresh way to tell the story of our rivers, coasts and shores. This new approach enables users to view and navigate within panoramic, river-level imagery. FishViews are captured thru HD photography on, over and under the water, and fused with concurrent measurements of the physical properties of the waterway – all synchronized by time and location. FishViews provide users with a rich, immersive browsing experience that enables greater understanding of a specific location or area.

“Like many new, revolutionary data products, once it is available people will recognize the remaining data gaps even more – driving demand for more extensive coverage with this product.” John Mickett, PhD Senior Oceanographer, University of Washington Applied Physics Lab.

Dam removal began on the Elwha River in mid-September 2011. Today, the Elwha Dam is gone, all of Glines Canyon Dam has been removed, and the Lake Mills and Lake Aldwell reservoirs have drained.

The Elwha River now flows freely from its headwaters in the Olympic Mountains to the Strait of Juan de Fuca for the first time in 100 years. The dam removal process was completed in late August of this year and F2V was there to capture the state of the river two days after the last dam came down. Thru Elwha River FishViews, users can virtually float and snorkel the river, and with F2V-collected data and call outs to important physical and biological features on the river, users can check out conditions before visiting the river – and even zoom in on important features.

Prior to being dammed in the early 20th century, the Elwha River was home to some of the largest Chinook salmon in the northern hemisphere. During F2V’s Elwha data collection, Chinook salmon were imaged spawning in the Elwha above the dams for the first time in over 100 years.

F2V aims to assist in the monitoring and assessment of the Elwha recovery to benefit scientific research, natural resource management, conservation, recreation and education. Looking to the future, F2V intends to work with Elwha River stakeholders to catalogue the recovery process and extend the project further upriver, eventually capturing the entire 45 miles from source to sea.

More broadly, the Elwha project represents the leading edge of a Puget Sound Region initiative to collect and present FishViews for 300 miles of Puget Sound Region rivers, coasts and shores – and prove out commercial viability for providing web-access to aquatic environments. Stay tuned for more FishViews of rivers and waterways throughout Washington State and the US, including tours of Texas’ Spring Lake,

San Marcos River and Lady Bird Lake.

For Inquiries, please contact:

Brian Footen 206.235.9286 or Scott Gallagher 210.516.5910

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