Friday, December 23, 2011

2011 in Review: Elwha Dam Removal and the Fish Weir

As we reach the end of 2011, we find ourselves wondering how the year went by so quickly and thinking about some of the highlights. For our office, this year will definitely be remembered as the year that removal of two large dams on the Elwha River finally started. Since early September, much progress has been made in tearing down the dams. A time-lapse video of the dam demolition can be viewed at For more information on the events leading up to demolition and how our office has been involved, visit

Elwha Dam on December 23, 2011
Once the dams have been completely removed, it won't be long before anadromous fish will once again have access to the >70 miles of pristine aquatic habitat located upstream in Olympic National Park. We intend to document how quickly these salmon, steelhead, and bull trout populations rebound by counting them on their journey up the river in coming years. In late 2010, we added a post describing the weir structure being operated by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (in partnership with USGS, NOAA-Fisheries, Olympic National Park, the Lower Elwha Tribe, and our office). To date, this is our most frequently visited story since starting the blog.


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