Tag Archives: Dams

Elwha, The Grand Experiment

Elwha river estuary. Photograph: © SAF


“Stanford University’s School of Humanities and Sciences, and their Knight Risser Prize for Western Journalism, has honored Lynda Mapes of the Seattle Times with a Special Citation for the report, “Elwha: The Grand Experiment”, which focusses on the largest dam removal project in the world currently underway in Washington State.

This impressive multi-media coverage includes animation of how the dams are being removed, videos capturing the ecosystem rebounding and fish returning, and links to live time-lapse footage of the dams coming down and reservoir areas reviving. We thank Lynda Mapes and the Seattle Times for capturing and sharing this historic river restoration project. We are encouraged to see folks at Stanford recognize this coverage and hope that Stanford will soon be honored for removing Searsville Dam, updating their water supply system, and helping to restore our San Francisquito Creek watershed and San Francisco Bay.”—Beyond Searsville Dam

Read The Special Report, Seattle Times
“It’s the largest dam-removal project in North America, and a second chance for the Elwha River valley, where dams have blocked salmon runs for more than a century. Two dams on the river are being taken out in a $325 million grand experiment that’s one of the most ambitious ecological restoration efforts in the U.S. Come along as we explore a largely unspoiled place that offers one of the best chances for restoration anywhere…”

Dams’ removal promises unique chance to start over on a grand scale, The Seattle Times

Elwha River Restoration: Dams Removal Project (09-2011)
This September, removal of two dams on the Elwha River, in Washington State, begins, setting in motion one of the largest restoration projects in U.S. history.

Elwha River, Dam Removal Project; a Photo Gallery, WCU / PSDS

On The Elwha, A New Life When The Dam Breaks
Nobody figured the largest dam removal project ever attempted in the U.S. was going to be easy, or fast.The nation’s largest and most ambitious dam removal will begin this month, when workers start demolishing two antique dams on Washington state’s Elwha River…

Fish return to undammed Elwha River
A project to remove two hydroelectric dams from the Elwha River in Washington state is bringing benefits for local wildlife. But the fish are not home free yet.

Underwater Ecosystem Inundated by Sediment Plume, Elwha River
Scuba-diver scientists from the U.S.G.S, with support teams from the U.S. EPA, the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, and Washington Sea Grant, are returning to the mouth of Washington’s Elwha River this week to explore and catalogue the effect of released sediment on marine life following the nation’s largest dam removal effort.

The Condit Dam Breach
For 95 years, the 125-foot high Condit Dam in rural Washington State held back the White Salmon River. In an historic effort, the dam was dramatically breached to restore, for the first time in a century, the waterway to fish and other aquatic organisms, as well as the birds and mammals that rely on them. The dam removal comes just weeks after dismantling began on the Elwha Dam a few hours to the north.

New Global Warming Culprit: Dams
Washington State University researchers have documented an underappreciated suite of players in global warming: dams, the water reservoirs behind them, and surges of greenhouse gases as water levels go up and down.

Marshes of Mesopotamia

Photo source: NASA
At the northern end of the Persian Gulf is the vast deltaic plain of the Euphrates, Tigris and Karun rivers. A complex of shallow freshwater lakes, swamps, marshes, and seasonally inundated plains between the Tigris and Euphrates make up the largest river delta in the Middle East, the Mesopotamian Delta and Marshes ecoregion, located in southern Iraq and partially in southwestern Iran. Captions source: ©© WWF
The Mesopotamian Marshes are a wetland area Historically the marshlands, mainly composed of the separate but adjacent Central, Hawizeh and Hammar Marshes, used to be the largest wetland ecosystem of Western Eurasia.
Regarded by historians as one of the cradles of civilization, the Mesopotamian Fertile Crescent has supported Marsh Arab society for millennia. NASA. The hydrology of these vast marshes is extremely important to the ecology of the entire upper Persian Gulf. NASA


The Mesopotamian Marshes, a vast expanse of reeds and open water twice the size of Norfolk, are the largest wetland ecosystem in the Middle East and support a number of species of global conservation concern. The marshes hold the only breeding population of the globally endangered Basra reed warbler and the world’s highest wintering numbers of the threatened marbled duck.

Now the marshes are under threat again, this time from the building of huge dams in Turkey on the Tigris and Euphrates…

Read Full Article “Conservation knows no boundaries…”, Guardian UK

Lessons from Iraq: Urban Marshes and City Survival, Science Daily
A scientist at the University of South Carolina is continuing to build the case that natural wetlands, rather than irrigated fields, are the fertile ground from which cities initially emerged in Mesopotamia. And her conclusions about the importance of wetlands to a sustainable urban environment or, in fact, any environment, have particular resonance in southern Iraq. That area is both the site of her studies and the region where Saddam Hussein forcibly drained marshes to drive out the local populace after the first Gulf war.

Mesopotamian Delta and Marshes, WWF

Vanishing Marshes of Mesopotamia, NASA

Water and life return to Iraq’s ‘Garden of Eden’, Guardian UK
One of Saddam Hussein’s greatest acts of ecological destruction, the draining of the Mesopotamian marshes, left a vast area of once-teeming river delta a dry, salt-encrusted desert, emptied of insects, birds and the people who lived on them. But, nearly two decades later the area is buzzing and twittering with life again after local people and a new breed of Iraqi conservationists have restored much of what was once the world’s third largest wetland to some of its former glory…

Dam Threatens Turkey’s Past and Future, IPS

Turkey’s Dams Are Violating Human Rights, Green Prophet

Marsh Arabs poling a traditional mashoof in the marshes of southern Iraq. Captions and Photo source: ©© Hassan Janali, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers