Long expected, the heavy loads of sediment created by demolition of Glines Canyon Dam and Elwha Dam are starting to hit the Elwha river.
The sediment behind the dams is one of the factors that makes the $325 million Elwha restoration the largest dam removal project ever anywhere, with some 24 million cubic yards of sediment to manage.
Much of the material will remain behind in the watershed, distributed along the river’s middle and lower run. But a lot of it is also rinsing out to the Strait of Juan de Fuca, where it is expected the material will help rebuild the near shore and beaches eroded to ankle-turning cobble…
On The Elwha, A New Life When The Dam Breaks
The largest dam-removal project in U.S. history—the Elwha River Restoration Project—commenced during the second week of September 2011, when National Park Service contractors began to dismantle two dams on the Elwha River in Washington State. The 32-m-tall Elwha Dam and the 64-m-tall Glines Canyon Dam, completed in 1913 and 1927, respectively, have been blocking the natural supply of sediment to the lower river and coast and severely limiting salmon and steelhead spawning for nearly a century.