The good news keeps coming. Wild coho have found mixing with fix that had been moved into and out of the hatchery during the dam removal.

During the tribe’s annual monitoring of Indian Creek, which connects Lake Sutherland to the Elwha River, the tribe found smolts up to 10 inches long in the tribe’s fyke net. Coho smolts are typically half that size.

Read the rest of the story here:

Lawsuit seeks more review of projects that ‘armor’ Puget Sound shoreline – Seattle Times

Good independent overview of the lawsuit filed yesterday  by Sound Action, Friends of the San Juans and Washington Environmental Council (WEC).

Restoring the natural shoreline at the Elwha River where it meets the sea is part of an ongoing battle to heal Puget Sound — along with a lawsuit to achieve better environmental review of new shoreline projects.

The Kings Return to the Upper Elwha

It’s an unbelievable sight. There are so few successes of this magnitude. After over 100 years, the Kings are back.  They beat themselves on the dam for decades. Now it’s gone. The Elwha continues to be the environmental restoration story of the last 50 years. I only wish  that Dick Goin was here to see this day. It was part of his vision that brought this about, along with the vision of a small number of other people. It happened due to the work of those people’s visions and many hands, along with  the raw power of nature to heal. Thanks to John Gussman for a superb short film. Thanks to the Lower Elwha Tribe for persevering.  In a week that saw the death of Twyla Roscovitch, the pre-eminent young environmental filmmaker working on salmon restoration issues, leaving behind a grieving partner and young daughter, we see a renewal that the fish themselves give to us all. Not a miracle. The result of immense hard work and the power of nature.

Three Chinook Spotted Above Glines Canyon; First Salmon Return to the Upper Elwha in 102 Years

Amazing! It’s working!

News Release Date: September 12, 2014

Following an observation by a fisheries biologist and member of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe of a possible Chinook salmon in the former Lake Mills, two Olympic National Park fisheries staff conducted a snorkel survey of the Elwha River above the old Glines Canyon dam site.

At Elwha River, forests, fish and flowers where there were dams and lakes – Seattle Times

With easy road access to trails open for the first time in years, and the river valley in full summer splendor, the Elwha beckons as never before. Where once there was a dam, today tourists are enjoying the newest interpretive attraction at Olympic National Park, about the world’s biggest-ever dam-removal experiment. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Meat and potatoes of the marine food system’ returns – Kitsap Sun

More very good news from the Elwha.

Smelt, a tiny fish with big importance, is the latest species to show rapid recovery after the fall of the Elwha River dams. The marine waters near the Elwha’s mouth have experienced a 20-fold increase in surf smelt abundance since the dams were removed two years ago, according to a study led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Surf smelt are a schooling fish that grow a bit bigger than sardines. They and other forage fish, such as herring and sand lance, are key food sources for seabirds, marine mammals and salmon. Tristan Baurick reports. (Kitsap Sun)

Return of the kings! Chinook salmon observed in undammed portion of Elwha River – Park & PDN

As the old saying goes, “nature abhors a vacuum”. The Olympic National Park have announced (and reported and commented on by The Peninsula Daily News) that chinook (King) salmon have been spotted above the site of the lower of the two dams that have been removed. This is the first time in almost a century that they have been able to reach this location. In addition to the Kings, Steelhead have also been seen in above the first dam.

The power of restoration again shows that once a place has been restored, nature tries and fill it, if the species still are alive.

The news bulletin from the park

Additional information on the story at the PDN.

Elwha River Flyover via computer simulation-PDN

A virtual fly-through along the lower Elwha River using radar data.

Elwha sediment not just mud, it’s nourishment – Seattle Times

The sediment loads in the Elwha River are spiking because the reservoir behind former Elwha Dam is now completely gone. That means the settling of fines that used to occur in the lake is no longer happening so all that material is pouring into the river, and heading on down to the Strait of Juan de Fuca…. And while the amount of sediment is large — about 50 times normal levels for the Elwha — don’t call it mud. Sediment is a single word for a whole range of material that the river has been depositing behind the two dams for the past 100 years: rocks, gravel, cobble, sand, silt, and clay. About 40 percent of that material is expected to eventually make its way out to sea. Lynda Mapes at the Seattle Times explains.–_new_aerial_photos.html

A Tribe Opts For Hatcheries To Bring Fish To The Elwha

A Tribe Opts For Hatcheries To Bring Fish To The Elwha
The Elwha River, which runs from the Olympic Mountains to the Strait of Juan de Fuca at the mouth of Puget Sound, has seen declining numbers of wild salmon since the first of its two dams went up in 1913. Fish hatcheries have been used to supplement ..

The Latest On Lake Mills from John Gussman

John has been documenting the removal of the Elwha dams. Here’s his latest photos from Lake Mills

Elwha River reborn as landscape transforms

Seattle Times reporter Lynda Mapes took her turn on the Elwha Dam removal story with this weekend’s “Elwha River reborn as landscape transforms 

“The river, tumbling and even kicking up a little white water, breaking a century’s silence in the landscape of former Lake Aldwell. ‘First, the sound,’ said Brian Cluer of NOAA fisheries, surveying the delta last week, ‘then the salmon.’"

Video – Elwha River at Stage 3 Flood Alert

Check out John Gussman’s new video, The Power of Water, taken yesterday on the Elwha at full stage 3 flood alert. An amazing couple of minutes of video of the power of water.

High school students turn drained lake into classroom – King 5


Posted on November 8, 2010 at 6:44 PM


PORT ANGELES, Wash. — A group of Seattle High School students are among the first people in over 80 years to walk on the bottom of Lake Mills.

The lake is being drained in preparation for removal of the two Elwha dams scheduled to next fall. The draw downs are the most visible steps so far the in the 20-year process of approval for the removal.

The Nathan Hale High School team was invited to study the lakes, dams and rivers by the Olympic Institute, an environmental education group that hopes the students will help the story of the largest dam removal project in U.S. history. The students are measuring the PH, flow and sediment levels in the river now so they compare them to levels after the removal.


Elwha River flows through man-made channel for dam-removal preparation

9/30 Peninsula Daily News

By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News
OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK — A river runs through it. Well, most of it does.
About 80 percent of the Elwha River is flowing though a man-made pilot channel at the southern end of Lake Mills where the river meanders through a delta and pours into the broad lake.
Crews finished digging the pilot channel on Tuesday and relocated a log jam near the head of the delta on Wednesday to direct the flow into the new channel, Olympic National Park Spokeswoman Barb Maynes confirmed.
More at

Trees felled in preparation for removal of Elwha dams – PDN

9/19 Peninsula Daily News

By Chris Tucker and Paul Gottlieb
Peninsula Daily News
OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK — The southern end of Lake Mills looks idyllic.
With towering mountains, a dense, green forest and the quietly burbling, crystal-clear waters of the Elwha River flowing nearby, one might imagine this area in Olympic National Park has remained essentially unchanged for 1,000 years.
Loud, electronic beeping noises disrupt the peace.
They signal the approaching end of the Glines Canyon Dam, construction of which created the lake, and the demise of its sister edifice, the Elwha Dam, downriver.
More at

Lowering Lake Mills begins today; preparation central to clearing Elwha River of dams – PDN

9/9 Peninsula Daily News
By Paul Gottlieb
Peninsula Daily News
OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK — Lake Mills will be lowered 5 feet starting today in the beginning of the end for the reservoir behind Glines Canyon Dam west of Port Angeles — and an essential part of preparations for the demolition of the two dams on the Elwha River.
On Wednesday, workers finished barging a big-bucket excavator, a crane and several fuel tanks to a delta of at least 13 million yards of sediment at the southeast portion of the lake.
The delta was created where the Elwha River slows down as it empties into Lake Mills’ broader boundaries.
More at

Multimillion-dollar contract for dam removals to be announced today; congressional brass tours Elwha first

8/26 Peninsula Daily News
Multimillion-dollar contract for dam removals to be announced today; congressional brass tours Elwha first
By Tom Callis
Peninsula Daily News

OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK — A four-member congressional delegation toured the two Elwha River dams earlier this week, two days before today’s expected announcement of the name of the company that will tear down the structures.

The National Park Service is scheduled to announce the awarding of the approximately $40 million to $60 million contract today.

Demolition of the dams will begin in September 2011 and take about 2 ½ years to complete.

More at

Elwha River’s coming dam removal has scientists flooded with unknowns – Seattle Times

Scientists see much to learn when two dams come down on the Elwha River, beginning about a year from now in the largest dam removal project ever in North America

By Lynda V. Mapes

Seattle Times staff reporter

ELWHA RIVER, Clallam County — From all over the country they came to ponder this river: its gravel, its teal-green waters, its shores and mouth and mostly its future as the site of the largest dam-removal project ever in North America.

Read the whole story:

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