Exciting dam removal video

One of the grandest gestures we humans in Western Washington can make for endangered orcas and salmon is to finally remove the Elwha dams.  The result would be a wonderful experiment in salmon restoration, as well as sediment dynamics.

I remember thinking that the removal was just a couple years away when I lived in Port Angeles for a couple months in 2002. For a LONG while we’ve all been thinking that the Elwha dam removal would be imminent.

I also imagined it would be more or less unprecedented.  Yet, today I learned that our neighbors in Oregon have set a remarkably good precedent by breaching the Marmot Dam on the Sandy River, a tributary of the lower Columbia near Portland.  This video of the river removing the dam in a single day should give us all hope in the current plan (sic) to let the Elwah sediment be transported naturally by the river.

How shall we help catalyze similar progress in Washington?

Thanks to the latest edition of Wild Salmon & Steelhead News for spreading the good news.


  1. scott

    October 16th, 2008 at 13:57

    The rate of sediment transport in a Montana River is estimated at 200+ ktons/year in this newspaper article about the Milltown Reservoir on the Clark Fork River. It would be interesting to dig into the EIS docs for the dam removal and get some numbers for amount of sediment trapped by the Elwha Dams…

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