The Winter 2019 issue of Salish Magazine tells stories about some of our local birds: some year-round residents and some seasonal ones; some large and some tiny; some land-based and some seabirds. [2], Olympic National Park was established by the federal government in 1938 during the Great Depression. International Wildlife Film Festival, Best Conservation Message You've just tried to add this show to My List. The Elwha River and the Elwha Ecosystem Restoration Project were the basis for the 2018 documentary, The Memory of Fish. The ecology of dam removal: a summary of benefits and impacts. Elwha Dam was built privately from 1910 to 1912 by Thomas Aldwell, who owned land in the area. Wunderlich, R. C., B. D. Winter, and J. H. Meyer. As the largest project ever of its kind, it presents huge research opportunities. Randle, T. , Bountry, J. , Ritchie, A. , & Wille, K. (2015). Journalist and photographer John Gussman has dedicated his time to making a documentary about these processes. United States (USA):2001. 2005. Elwha Dam became operational in 1913. The concrete dam was then removed and the original river channel restored. ca from Labrador, Canada. Prior to dam construction, the sediment from the Elwha River accumulated at the mouth of the river, expanding the delta and forming extensive sandy beaches. [5] In 1992, disease wiped out two thirds of a returning Chinook population before they had a chance to spawn. Sediment discharge rates would increase, resulting in restored and rejuvenated habitats downstream from the dams. 1996. Problems Playing Video? The Elwha River Hydroelectric Power Plant historic district, a 3.5 acres (1.4 ha) area comprising the dam, the powerhouse, five penstocks and the surge tank, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988. Its managers were unable to successfully rear fish. A FILM ABOUT THE LARGEST DAM REMOVAL PROJECT IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES, AND THE EXTRAORDINARY EFFORT TO RESTORE AN ECO-SYSTEM AND SET A RIVER FREE. click to enlarge Oct 8, 2014 Removal of both dams was thus considered the only viable option for full restoration of the river and habitat. [11] The dams had virtually eliminated bed-material sediment supply to the river downstream, forming large deltas upstream of each reservoir. East, A. , Pess, G. , Bountry, J. , Magirl, C. , Ritchie, A. , et al. The first step in removing the Elwha dam was to lower the reservoir's water level by approximately 15 feet using the existing water intakes and spillway. The National Park Service and Olympic Park Institute are involved in education projects to inform the public about the history of the river, the dam removal process, ecosystem restoration, and the return of salmon to the upper river. [3] Thus, in 1912, as the reservoir filled behind the nearly completed dam, the lower sections of the dam gave way and a torrent of water headed downstream, taking out a bridge. [12] Once released, the sediment travelled downstream to the mouth of the river, where a new estuary is believed to be forming. Olympic Peninsula Environmental News, "It took about 30 seconds to decide that I wanted to see “Return of the River” all the way through the film’s credits; about 10 seconds more to know that I wanted you to see it, too." [5] The environmental community also got involved in opposing the dams. Historically, the Elwha River was one of the few rivers in the contiguous United States that supported all of the anadromous salmonid species native to the Pacific Northwest. The next 173 feet of the dam were removed using a notching process. [5], Another effect of damming was the creation of Lake Aldwell and Lake Mills. This is great example of how our 21st century technology can be used to go beyond the typical static picture created by a documentary and breathe life into the community and the environment being portrayed. [7] This resulted in blocking passage of migrating fish, limiting them to the lower 4.9 miles (7.9 km) of river below the dam. The major problem raised with regard to removal of the two dams was the approximately 34 million cubic yards of sediment that had built up behind the dams.