HCN Blog: Fish fight brews with removal of Elwha River dams

"On Sept. 15, an excavator tore the first chunks of concrete from the Glines Canyon dam on Washington state’s Elwha River. It was a historic moment, kicking off the largest dam removal in U.S. history. When the dams are gone, salmon will swim up the Elwha for the first time in nearly 100 years. Seventy miles of pristine habitat awaits them on what was once one of the most productive salmon streams in the Pacific Northwest. There was cause for celebration.

Then came the bad news: The next day, some of the same interest groups who pushed to remove the dams sent a letter of intent to sue the agencies making it happen. The groups claim the multi-agency fish restoration plan violates the Endangered Species Act by allowing the Lower Elwha Klallam tribe to release non-native hatchery steelhead into the restored river. The tribe’s new $16 million, publicly funded hatchery will also rear and release native fish to help them recover after the dams are gone. Critics say that, too, will threaten the protected salmon, steelhead and bull trout runs that the project is meant to restore."

Get the Story:
Nathan Rice: Fish fight on the Elwha (The GOAT Blog/High Country News 10/3)

Related Stories:
National Parks: Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe hails dam removal (09/30)
National Parks: Webcam offers a view of historic dam removal (9/26)
Editorial: Removal of dams a step towards return of Elwha River (9/19)
Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe praises start of dam breaching work (09/15)
National Parks: Secretary Salazar to celebrate removal of dam (9/14)
Blog: Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe's hatchery threatens salmon (9/13)
Lower Elwha Klallam to auction items from removal of dams (9/8)
EnergyBiz: Dam breaching benefits Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe (9/7)
KLCC: Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe restoring salmon at hatchery (8/24)
Blog: Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe holds ceremony for First Salmon (8/22)
OPB: Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe keeps an eye on health of rivers (8/17)
Opinion: Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe could hurt salmon recovery (8/3)
Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe welcomes dam removal for salmon (7/29)

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