Western Front: Klallam people celebrate removal of dams

"The Klallam people of the Elwha Valley on the Olympic Peninsula once caught fish in the Elwha River year-round. The river was one of the most productive fish runs in the Pacific Northwest and boasted all five species of Pacific salmon.

But the construction of two massive dams in the early 20th century drastically cut the size of runs, destroying the tribe’s major food source and leaving the habitat altered.

On June 1, the generators of these two dams on the Elwha River were shut off after 97 years, setting into motion a $324.7 million restoration project, which involves tearing down the massive concrete walls in the largest dam removal in U.S. history.

Deconstruction of the dams will begin in the fall and is expected to take about three years to complete.

Restoration planning and research, led primarily by the state and the Lower Klallam Elwha Tribe, offered several opportunities for Western faculty and students of the Huxley College of the Environment, as well as Western’s biology department, to study the ecological effects of dam removal."

Get the Story:
Huxley researchers aid in deconstruction of historic dam (The Western Front 6/3)

Related Stories:
Blog: Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe benefits from dam removal (6/1)

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