Return of the River – A homerun of a movie for Gussman and Plumb

Just got out of the world premiere of  ‘Return of the River”, the film that likely will be considered the definitive work on the Elwha Dam removal.  This film, years in the making, was a labor of love for the two Peninsula based filmmakers, John Gussman and Jessica Plumb. And it was great to see it premiered here at the Port Townsend Film Festival.

The film tracks in detail the history of the dam, but more importantly the place that is the Elwha River, the feel for the Olympic Peninsula then and now, and a great depth of interviews with people that were instrumental, on both sides of the controversial project.  It is impossible not to come away impressed with the idea that hard things to do take a long time, and a lot of consensus building. From the interviews with leading politicians, mill managers, environmentalists, writers, biologists, and most importantly, the tribal members of the Lower Elwha Tribe, who never gave up hope to bring back the historic runs. There were so many people who played significant small roles in this drama. Gussman and Plumb treated all with the respect they deserve. There are no demeaning ‘heroes and villains’ caricatures.

It is almost trite to say that certain stories are ‘epic’ and ‘pivotal’ but the removal of the Elwha Dam has been just that. It has galvanized world attention more than almost any other single environmental event of the last ten years, because it is a message of hope. Hope that we can restore what we have destroyed. Gussman and Plumb have captured that story, distilled it to 70 minutes, and given fair treatment to all sides, and points of view. More than ever, we need stories of hope in the face of ever mounting environmental problems to solve.

In the last week, I’ve posted the story that bull trout have been seen in the upper Elwha for the first time in a century. Also that the shores of the Elwha estuary are turning back into a clam bed capable  sand spit. The power of restoration is an amazing thing to watch.  The restoration of this river, with it’s unique short run from sea to protected park, is possible, and is happening, right now, in front of our eyes for just taking the time to go look.

Gussman and Plumb, along with the rest of their crew, have given us the story, in all it’s facets. A well crafted storyline, beautiful filmmaking, solid editing, a wonderful original soundtrack, animation when needed of the hard concepts.

Congratulations for a remarkable piece of work. A 5 star must see film.

Peninsula salmon projects get $4.5 million – PDN

Lots of good projects that are going to give jobs to folks here on the Peninsula, and help restore salmon habitat. The work is far from being completed, but it’s good to see these projects and land purchases get funded. Tying this together with the work described by Earth Economics over the weekend on this site, it’s worth it to note that there is value in these ecosystem renewal projects. Slowing the rivers by putting in log jams, for example, do not just provide scientifically proven habitat for salmon (especially young salmon migrating downstream), but they also aide in flood protection among other benefits. Flood plain protection is a value that lowers the cost to repairing damage from floods over multiple decades.

The state has awarded $4.5 million in grants for new salmon restoration projects on the North Olympic Peninsula. ….

Rob Ollikainen reports.

There’s quite a bit more to the story at:

http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20131208/NEWS/312089997/peninsula-salmon-projects-get-45-million

 

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Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe Elder Adeline Smith Passes Away – NWIFC

We pay our respects to the passing of a small legend in our area. Adeline had seen an amazing amount of change in her life, likely more than any of us will ever see. Not much of it was good, but in the end she helped swing the pendulum back around for her tribe, helping save their language, and aiding in the process that led to the restoration of the Elwha River. Her importance to her tribe cannot be measured, only honored.

Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe elder Adeline Smith died March 19, 2013. She was 95. She was known for helping preserve the Tse-whit-zen village site and the Klallam Language, and played a part in the removal of the Elwha River dams.

http://nwifc.org/2013/03/lower-elwha-klallam-tribe-elder-adeline-smith-passes-away/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+nwifc+%28NWIFC+News%29&utm_content=Google+Feedfetcher

Legendary “creation site” of Lower Elwha uncovered

It appears that a legendary “creation site” of the Lower Elwha Tribe has been uncovered with the removal of the dams. This site, which was discussed to anthropologists studying the tribes legends over a hundred years ago, has now been visited by elders who say it is the same place as described.

The whole story is at the PDN:
http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20120812/NEWS/308129985/0/SEARCH

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