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Wed Sep 17, 2014, 10:19 PM

Salmon Return to Washington’s Elwha River for the First Time in 102 Years





http://www.takepart.com/article/2014/09/17/salmon-return-elwha-river-first-time-102-years

The largest dam removal in the U.S. is already paying off in the return of salmon, bears, and other wildlife.

September 17, 2014 By Zachary Slobig

Editor, reporter, and radio producer Zachary Slobig has covered coastal issues for Outside, NPR, Los Angeles Times, and many others.

For 102 years, native salmon bumped up against massive concrete hydroelectric dams on Washington state’s Elwha River, stubbornly persisting in their primitive urge to swim upstream and lay their eggs. Last week, that persistence paid off.

Habitat managers spotted Chinook salmon and bull trout in the upper reaches of that river—above the former locations of demolished 108-foot and 210-foot dams that long blocked their path to the spawning ground to which they are hardwired to return.

The arrival of these fish is being celebrated as a promising sign for the return of the river to a fully functioning ecosystem, flowing freely from its source in the Olympic Mountains all the way to the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Mel Elofson, a habitat biologist with the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, was the first to spot the healthy female Chinook in the riverbank above the Glines Canyon Dam last week.

FULL story at link.



26 replies, 4177 views

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Arrow 26 replies Author Time Post
Reply Salmon Return to Washington’s Elwha River for the First Time in 102 Years (Original post)
Omaha Steve Sep 2014 OP
niyad Sep 2014 #1
Generic Brad Sep 2014 #2
Omaha Steve Sep 2014 #14
freshwest Sep 2014 #3
KT2000 Sep 2014 #16
ReRe Sep 2014 #4
Zorra Sep 2014 #5
sheshe2 Sep 2014 #6
daschess1987 Sep 2014 #7
NBachers Sep 2014 #8
wheniwasincongress Sep 2014 #9
SheilaT Sep 2014 #10
badtoworse Sep 2014 #11
Bandit Sep 2014 #12
badtoworse Sep 2014 #13
raouldukelives Sep 2014 #15
Enthusiast Sep 2014 #17
littlemissmartypants Sep 2014 #18
jmondine Sep 2014 #19
rhett o rick Sep 2014 #20
hopemountain Sep 2014 #21
G_j Sep 2014 #22
sulphurdunn Sep 2014 #23
AtomicKitten Sep 2014 #24
Hestia Sep 2014 #25
uppityperson Sep 2014 #26

Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Wed Sep 17, 2014, 10:29 PM

1. k and r

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Wed Sep 17, 2014, 10:37 PM

2. Those are some damned old salmon

I would not want to eat 102 year old salmon. No, thank you.

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Response to Generic Brad (Reply #2)

Thu Sep 18, 2014, 09:39 AM

14. The bears don't seem to mind




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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Wed Sep 17, 2014, 10:48 PM

3. The tribes have been a slow, but steady force in this. Hope for the future.

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Response to freshwest (Reply #3)

Thu Sep 18, 2014, 03:01 PM

16. the tribes have been

the saving grace of the entire Olympic Peninsula! Every other political entity here seems hell-bent on bringing forth the apocalypse.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Wed Sep 17, 2014, 10:55 PM

4. K&R

This is wonderful news. Thanks for bringing it to us, Omaha Steve.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Wed Sep 17, 2014, 11:05 PM

5. Great news! Thanks. nt

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Wed Sep 17, 2014, 11:08 PM

6. Kick!

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Wed Sep 17, 2014, 11:25 PM

7. Great news!

Thanks, Omaha Steve. I needed to hear something positive today, and that definitely put a smile on my face.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Wed Sep 17, 2014, 11:55 PM

8. Yup, sunshine in my heart

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Wed Sep 17, 2014, 11:57 PM

9. It's the end of times!!!1

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Thu Sep 18, 2014, 01:39 AM

10. Oh, my. How heartening.

 

It is quite amazing and gratifying to learn how much and how well nature can recover from the horrors humans inflict. I can remember all to well stories about Lake Erie being essentially dead, but then the Clean Water Act was passed and things improved enormously.

There is hope.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Thu Sep 18, 2014, 07:06 AM

11. Didn't the dam have fish ladders?

 

Last edited Thu Sep 18, 2014, 08:54 AM - Edit history (1)

The FERC normally would have required them to be installed in order to relicense the dam.

ETA: Did a little research. The dams did not have fish ladders and relicensing them would have required their installation (expensive). Removing these dams is the best possible outcome. It will be interesting to see how long it takes for the river to return to something resembling its former state and how quickly the numbers of returning salmon increase. The fishery should be carefully managed to restore the numbers of fish as quickly as possible.

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Response to badtoworse (Reply #11)

Thu Sep 18, 2014, 09:01 AM

12. Getting up the rivers wasn't the problem

The problem was all the fry going down river were channeled into the turbines.

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Response to Bandit (Reply #12)

Thu Sep 18, 2014, 09:24 AM

13. There are ways to reduce fry mortality from the turbines.

 

Last year, I looked at some dams on the Lower Penobscot in Maine and they use bypasses around the turbines to allow the fry to pass. The bypass entrance has a stronger current than the river flow to the turbines and the fry are attracted to that.

I do not believe the Elwha River dams had fish ladders so there wouldn't be any fry upstream of the dams - the adult salmon couldn't get there.

Here's a link to an article that details some of the history of those dams.

http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20110912/news/309129994/the-elwha-dams-part-2-historical-series-8212-as-dams-age

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Thu Sep 18, 2014, 10:36 AM

15. So awesome! K&R! nt

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Thu Sep 18, 2014, 03:21 PM

17. Kicked and recommended!

The earth give us gifts but we find a way to fuck things up.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Thu Sep 18, 2014, 03:42 PM

18. Thanks for your post, Omaha Steve. nt

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Thu Sep 18, 2014, 04:20 PM

19. Now if we can just do the same at Hetch Hetchy!

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Thu Sep 18, 2014, 04:53 PM

20. What a great accomplishment to remove those damns. See the video.

 



Thanks for posting.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Thu Sep 18, 2014, 08:57 PM

21. observing and experiencing full on salmon runs

is an experience that i hope every human being will have the opportunity to witness. the power and ofull on salmon or steelhead runs is unforgettable.

even now, in reading this headline - i am transported back to the thrill & awe of my own experience.

go, salmon, go!

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Thu Sep 18, 2014, 09:05 PM

22. K&R!

thank you for sharing this.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Thu Sep 18, 2014, 09:20 PM

23. Used to live on

 

Lake Sutherland and in Sequim. Did a lot of fishing below the dam. Glad it's gone and the Kings are back.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Thu Sep 18, 2014, 09:24 PM

24. go fish

 

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Thu Sep 18, 2014, 09:37 PM

25. PBS has a program (Nature maybe?) that shows how the entire Pacific

and Rocky Mountain areas depend on salmon - bears eat, bears poo, poo nurtures trees, etc., helping out the entire ecosystem. All of that area depend on salmon runs.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Thu Sep 18, 2014, 10:12 PM

26. K&r and as Alaskan Ray Troll would say....

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