Piles of dead year-old chinook salmon, numbering at least in the hundreds, were found along the Elwha River’s lower banks and mouth after hatchery smolts were released last week. State Fish and Wildlife Department officials will consider alternatives for future releases of fish, said Mike Gross, Fish and Wildlife fish biologist for Clallam County and West Jefferson County, who called the release “a mistake.” Sediment from the river clogged the gills of most he examined, said Mike McHenry, a fish biologist and habitat manager for the Lower Elwha Klallam tribe, who saw the dead fish at the river’s mouth and on sandbars Monday and Tuesday. Jeremy Schwartz reports.
More unexpected learning experiences from the Elwha Dam project.
A mother lode of mud is making its way down the Elwha River, and with it, an armada of floating and waterlogged debris. Scientists recently learned there was about 41 percent more sediment trapped behind the dams than originally thought — and that the river is transporting more mud and wood than they expected. Lynda Mapes reports.
Elwha gnaws away at a century of sediment http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2020577152_elwhasedimentxml.html
See also: Kelp armageddon at the mouth of the Elwha http://blogs.seattletimes.com/fieldnotes/2013/03/17/kelp-armageddon-at-the-mouth-of-the-elwha/
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Report on the salmon returns this year on the Elwha. Good news here:
A number of salmon are getting a helping hand to two of the larger tributaries of the Elwha River from the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe Fish Hatchery, where fish are taking refuge from increased sediment loads coursing down the river in the wake of dam removal. Some 300 coho and a handful of chum already have made their way to the tribal hatchery and the state rearing channel — enough to preserve this year’s run. Jeremy Schwartz reports.
Read the rest of the story at the link below:
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The PDN coverage of the first of two free public events during the four-day 2012 Elwha River Science Symposium. Arwyn Rice reports.
Scientists tells of Elwha restoration progress during symposium http://peninsuladailynews.com/article/20120822/news/308229990/scientists-tells-of-elwha-restoration-progress-during-symposium
And: More king salmon sightings upriver in Elwha
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.
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:
The work continues to restore the Elwha, and small changes in fish are already showing. I’ve talked to many people over the years about restoration, and many of them say the same thing, once a place is restored (or under way to restoration), nature starts working very quickly at times. While only showing up at the river’s estuary area, these are positive changes.
On the Olympic Peninsula the largest dam removal project in history is well underway, and the Elwha River is starting to show signs of life not seen here for nearly a century. There haven’t been salmon in the upper Elwha for almost 100 years. But that’s changing. Ashley Ahearn reports.
The Glines Canyon Dam, the upper dam on the Elwha River, will be completely removed ahead of schedule between spring and summer 2013, federal officials said this week. The last remnants of the lower dam, the 108-foot Elwha Dam, which formed Lake Aldwell 5 miles upstream from the river’s mouth, were removed in March. Dam removal ahead of schedule: