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Tag: Elwha dam removal


The Elwha Dam is gone

The Elwha Dam no longer exists. That’s the news from Olympic National Park.

Here is the news release:

Crews continue to excavate the river channel just upstream of the former Elwha Dam, slowly lowering the river bed to its original elevation and draining the remaining reservoir. The material being excavated now is primarily rock and gravel, much of which was added to the channel after the dam failed in 1912. Contractors have another ten feet to go before they reach the original elevation of the river bed of 100 feet.

Material excavated from the channel is being used to

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Latest update on Elwha River dam removal

Here is an update from Olympic National Park on the work to remove two dams on the Elwha River:

As steady progress continues on dismantling the two Elwha dams, the canyons once blocked by the dams are coming into view.

Elwha Dam

Crews are nearly done removing the concrete gravity dam that filled the river’s original channel, and will soon begin to slowly return the river back to its original channel.

This final diversion will take place over a number of weeks, as contractors carefully control the flow by positioning and repositioning large boulders in the channel. During the

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Elwha Dam removal ceremony will be webcast Saturday

From Olympic National Park:

On Saturday, September 17, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar will join Washington Governor Chris Gregoire, Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, Congressman Norm Dicks, and Lower Elwha Klallam Tribal Chairwoman Frances Charles to officially mark the beginning of the Elwha River dam removal project. The event marks a significant milestone for the Elwha River Restoration project which will help increase salmon populations, uphold commitments to the culture of the Elwha Klallam Tribe, and create new opportunities for growth and regional vitality.

The ceremony begins at 11 a.m. PDT and the streaming of the ceremony will begin at 10:30 a.m. through the following link: Showcasing the first step in dam removal, an excavator will remove the first concrete from the Elwha Dam.  A big-screen showing of the ceremony will take place at Elwha Central at the Port Angeles City Pier in Port Angeles and at the Mountaineers Outdoors Fest at Magnuson Park in Seattle.

Tom Skerritt, board member of the nonprofit group American Rivers and actor will serve as master of ceremonies. The ceremony will include musical interludes by singer/songwriters Eliza Gilkyson and Dana Lyons, who will each perform an original work.  Students from the Port Angeles High School will also perform and area artists have created original pieces to help tell the story of Elwha River Restoration.

This ceremony is part of the weeklong series of events in and around Port Angeles, Sequim and the Elwha Valley. Hosted by dozens of sponsors, partners and participants, the events are  commemorating the history and celebrating the future of this landmark project, while educating visitors about dam removal and restoration, Olympic National Park and the North Olympic Peninsula. A full schedule of events and more information is available online at

The Elwha River Restoration is an environmental and cultural restoration project which includes the nation’s largest dam removal and will free the Elwha River after nearly a century. Removing the 108-foot Elwha Dam and the 210-foot Glines Canyon Dam will allow anadromous fish to access more than 70 miles of protected habitat and help restore the river’s salmon populations from 3,000 to more than 300,000.
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Lake Mills drawn down means boat ramp unusable; part of Elwha River dam removal

As work continues in preparation for removing the two Elwha River dams continues, Bureau of Reclamation dam managers will again lower the water level in the Lake Mills. The draw down will help accelerate erosion along a pilot channel created last fall.

The drawdown will begin within the next several days. Managers said they estimate the water level will drop approximately one-and-a-half feet each day until the reservoir is six feet lower than normal. This is expected to occur by the end of April.

The Lake Mills boat launch will be inaccessible and unusable for the duration of the drawdown.

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Moving forward with Elwha dam removal

Olympic National Park has taken the next big step in the effort to remove two dams on the Elwha River. The park has issued a call for proposals for removal of the Elwha and Glines Canyon dams.

“Just last week, we celebrated completion of the Port Angeles Water Treatment Plant and the Elwha Water Facilities, both major milestones in Elwha restoration,” Superintendent Karen Gustin said in a prepared statement. “With (the) bid request for dam removal, we have reached yet another landmark on the way to freeing the Elwha River and restoring hundreds of thousands of fish to its waters.”

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