People's World: Hopes soar as dams removed on Elwha River

"For 100 years, two hydroelectric dams on the Elwha River blocked fish from their spawning grounds, destroying one of the world's most bountiful salmon fisheries.

Now construction workers have blasted the concrete dams, removed the rubble, and slowly drained the lakes. The river is once again running free, flowing from its headwaters high in the Olympic Mountains to the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Most thrilling of all is that the Chinook, Coho, Chum, Silver, and Sockeye salmon and the Steelhead trout have appeared above the Elwha dams for the first time in a century.

The two dams, the lower Elwha Dam and eight miles upstream, the Glines Canyon Dam, were built in 1910 to provide electricity for a paper mill. Surplus electricity was sold to the city of Port Angeles. No fish-ladder was built so 400,000 or more salmon and steelhead were confined to the short stretch of the stream below the dams. A deal to build a fish hatchery to replace the upstream spawning beds ended after nine years, when the private owners closed the hatchery down."

Get the Story:
Hopes soar as Elwha dams come down and salmon return (People's World 8/13)

Related Stories:
Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe awaits return of more salmon to river (8/3)
Opinion: Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe fought for removal of dams (7/27)
Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe finds quick return of salmon to river (7/12)
KUOW: Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe works to restore salmon runs (06/05)
Editorial: Temporary truce with the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe (03/06)
Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe to decommission old fish hatchery (02/06)
Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe working to restore salmon runs (01/30)
Alternet: Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe welcomes removal of dams (01/05)

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